Where The Wild Things Are: A Statement From The BullOctober 27, 2009
WEATHER STATION 1 EXCLUSIVE, MINOR SPOILERS
The following is the text of a presentation made to assembled media representatives on October 27, 2009 by The Bull, one of the cast members of the new film Where The Wild Things Are, in response to recent media coverage.
“Ladies and gentlemen and that guy back there — what are you, a turtle with wings? — I would like to thank you for coming to this press conference on such short notice. My name is The Bull, and you may have seen me in the new film Where The Wild Things Are, or in the book of the same name, or in toy form, currently available at quality retailers near you.
“I stand before you today as a representative of the Wild Things and of the film’s cast and crew. We have learned of recent statements made by an old friend, statements that may serve to cast this film in a negative light. It falls upon my shoulders to address these concerns.
“You may have read some of the coverage of our old friend’s Jeff’s claims that he was shut out of the film. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jeff was a crucial part of our original modelling sessions nearly 50 years ago, and he remains a key member of the Wild Things family. His exclusion from the film was based solely on his own actions.
“Some of you may know that an attempt was made to create an film version of our story in the 1980s. Test footage (see below — editor) was created, and we were all called in as consultants and to help develop the look of the film. During this period, Jeff was going through a difficult breakup with Heather Locklear and had begun hitting the bottle pretty ferociously. We weren’t sure where he was living. I, myself, received several late-night phone calls from him, stripper music in the background, him begging for a loan.
“Later, we learned he had landed a role in a pilot, but by the time it aired, he had been replaced by Mr. T, and The A-Team made television history. Jeff’s behaviour became more and more erratic. He was dropped from a lot of the merchandising programs, which is why you rarely see him in sticker books.
“He now claims that nobody contacted him about the new film. On the contrary, every effort was made to reach out to him, but he refused to return phone calls and answered emails with strange rants about Hillary Clinton being an alien.
“We, the Wild Things, stand behind our film, and we stand behind our friend Jeff, should he choose to return to the fold. That may take some changes on his part, but we have faith in him. In the meantime, Where The Wild Things Are is playing at a theatre near you. Thank you for your time. Questions?”
- Question: “A lot of people are complaining that this movie is too different from the book.”
- Bull: “Of course they are, and of course it is. This is a full-length movie. The book is very short. Changes had to be made. People will always complain about these things, but we had faith in the ability of our director to take the tiny gem that was Maurice Sendak’s book and cultivate it into a huge sparkling jewel, and he did that.”
- Question: “You don’t say much in the film, yet today you’re very outspoken. Why is that?”
- Bull: “That’s called acting. I also wear clothes in real life.”
- Question: “I saw the movie and didn’t get it. Why would you make a movie that’s confusing for adults and scary for kids?”
- Bull: “You have to go back to the source material. Maurice Sendak wrote the original book as an exploration of a child’s fantasy of independence. He gave children a taste of adult life, and told them they would find it wanting. When Spike Jonze set out to make this film, he chose to keep that message, that motif, but expand on it by also reminding adults what it’s like to be a child. Children yearn to grow up, and adults yearn to be young again. It’s a harsh fact that we are never content with what we have, and this film was an attempt to not only capture that, but prove it.”
- Spike Jonze: “Yeah.”
- Question: “Are you saying this whole thing is story about childhood?”
- Bull: “Absolutely. The Wild Things are children. They’re the playground archetypes, and Max is the new kid in town. Go back to the first scene, where his sister tells him to go play with his friends, and watch Max’s face. That’s the story there. And later, when Juliet chastises him for mimicking her, we’re reminded that the Wild Things see Max as their parental figure. This helps him understand his mother’s position back in the real world.”
- Question: “What does Weathereye think? Enquiring minds want to know.
- Bull: “He loved it. He took his kids and they were all caught up in its magic. He thought it had a few slow parts that younger kids might not get, but the action scenes were spaced perfectly and kept children’s attention while delivering the message I was talking about earlier. In fact, Weathereye texted me right after he saw it and said it was one of the best films of the year, and also that he likes my horns.”
- Question: “This all sounds pretty heady for a movie that also includes a dirt-clod fight and a talking goat. Aren’t you worried people won’t take it seriously?”
- Bull: “The trailer had music by The Arcade Fire for a reason, you know. To show we’re serious.”