NEW YORK — Lincoln Center, the iconic home of world-class opera, ballet and orchestra productions, was invaded by untamed creatures on Tuesday night. The cast and creative forces of "Where the Wild Things Are," the big-screen adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book of alienation and adventure, took over for a gala red-carpet premiere.
The paparazzi were lined up early outside Alice Tully Hall and security was tight as the evening kicked off and the 81-year-old Sendak was escorted down the carpet by director Spike Jonze and Max Records, the 12-year-old newcomer who plays Max, a young boy who escapes his fraught family life for a fantastical world in which hulking, hairy beasts roam free.
Tom Hanks, whose Playtone Company produced the film, compared his own childhood to that of the disruptive fictional Max. "I tested authority — I never broke it," Hanks told MTV News. "I expanded authority, I broached it, but I never broke it. I was the guy in the back who always made the teacher laugh before she told me to shut up and reopen the book. So I was not a destructive young man. I never attacked the dog with a fork like Max."
Behind the carpet stood oversize posters of the Wild Things themselves: horn-nosed Judith, doe-eyed KW, Max's closest buddy Carol. "That thing's ugly!" declared Records, who said he was having a good time on the carpet but could never get used to such experiences.
The night's attendees included Martin Short, Blake Lively, Forest Whitaker, Catherine Keener, Lauren Ambrose, Joan Allen and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, who composed the film's score.
"There's some sort of symbiotic creative energy between the two of us," Karen O said of her collaboration with Jonze. "We're both kind of like kids trapped in adult bodies to a certain degree, so it was a really playful approach, really organic, nothing formal."
Ambrose, too, noted a somewhat less-than-traditional process on the "Wild Things" set. Though Ambrose only provided the voice for KW, Jonze had her and the other voice actors actually perform their movements, interact with other cast and speak their lines into hands-free microphones. "Spike was especially physical," she laughed. "He was, like, beating me up and we're rolling around on the floor."
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