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Music To Soothe The Savage Beast
Accompanying Max's discoveries on both a grand and an intimate scale is the film's music, composed by Karen O and Carter Burwell. Jonze worked previously with award-winning composer Burwell on "Being John Malkovich” and "Adaptation” and with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O on many music and film collaborations in the past. He counts them both among the most intuitive and creative people he has ever met. Overall, suggests Jonze, "The music provides not so much a score as themes.”

"I tried to follow Max on his emotional odyssey—never lead him,” explains Burwell. "This might mean, for instance, when he meets the Wild Things, moving from curiosity to bluster to fear to wonder to triumph, all in a minute or two. I certainly have seen that journey in the faces of my children.”

"My job was to come up with simple, childlike melodies reminiscent of hooks of great old pop songs that you can't shake, to shoot straight to the heart and be the voice of Max on the inside,” says Karen O, who assembled a group of musicians she admires from various bands for the project. "We wrote the music over a span of two years in five sessions. Writing to raw footage is freeing. Without the constraints of an edited scene, we could really focus on the heart of the feeling for the piece.”

And heart, ultimately, is what "Where the Wild Things Are” is all about.

Says Jonze, "I love this book and have always loved this book, since I was a kid. I didn't want to let Maurice down. His work is so important. He said, ‘Make a movie that's personal to you, make it your own.' Even so, he had lived with the book as his creation for 40 years and that's a long time to live with something. I wanted to really respect that and make a movie that felt true to his values. And that's what we did.”


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