As indicated by the awards ceremonies so far, Spike Jonze will be leaving with an Academy Award for Best Screenplay at this year’s Oscars for his newest film “Her”. ”Her” is about a man falling in love with his OS (intelligent computer operating system). This bizarre concept follows suit with the rest of the filmography of the screenwriter/director who gave the world a peak inside John Malkovich’s head in “Being John Malkovich” and then an inside in screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s head in “Adaptation”. Along with his film work he has a blooming career in directing music videos for the Beastie Boys, Daft Punk, R.E.M, Bjork, Jay Z and many more.
Spike Jonze is the original hipster, dressing up his actors in weird vintage clothes and giving them crazy hair and mustaches long before the hipster movement took ownership of that look. The difference is he meant it and there was nothing ironic about it. His first feature ”Being John Malkovich” took the industry and viewers by surprise since it was truly an original idea. Someone once said there are 14 original stories in Hollywood and every movie is a version of those stories, ”Being John Malkovich” is the 15th story. For those who haven’t seen it, the title of the movie is literally what happens, since there is a portal where you can enter John Malkovich’s head and be him for a little while. So when a puppeteer (John Cusack) discovers the portal his life and those around him gets… weird, if that is the operative word.
And then came “Adaptation”. There is postmodern writing and then there is a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, who also penned Being John Malkovich. Adaptation is about a screenwriter, a role mirroring Kaufman himself, who tries to adapt a book into a screenplay. This tagline merely describes what goes on to the film but it is one of those things where even writing down the script word for word it wouldn’t be enough to explain it. Combining Kaufman’s unique sensibilities and Jonze’s vision the film is one of the books.
His third feature marks his first attempt in screenwriting, Jonze co-wrote the script for “Where the Wild Things Are” and also directed it. It is his highest grossing film as of yet, the story being of a lonely nine year old with a hyperactive imagination who encounters the creatures of his imagination either generated by computer animatronics and other times played by actors in suits.
Along with his film career Jonze is an accomplished photographer, co founder of the magazine Dirt, music video director and an occasional actor. His music video career may be the reason behind his excellent music choices when it comes to assemble tracks for his films’ soundtracks.
Proof of that his latest film is not only praised for its screenplay but for its soundtrack as well which includes tracks from Arcade Fire and Karen O.
If you think that your stories are too weird and unconventional and have trouble sharing them then take a note from Spike Jonze’s book and stop being afraid, write them down and who knows maybe your script will be the 16th story in Hollywood. And also never forget that the ÉCU Film Festival is a welcoming place for all the creative weirdos of the world. You have until March 2nd to submit your screenplays.