Max Records, the star of Spike Jonze‘s “Where the Wild Things Are,” does seem to share some of the traits of the Max he portrays onscreen. Quick-witted, smart and imaginative, he’s having to bring to the screen an iconic character that’s survived and influenced generations of audiences. Our Jevon Phillips got to chat with the kid star, who was also in “The Brothers Bloom,” about the experience of making the film.
JP: When did you first read “Where the Wild Things Are?”
Records: Hmmm … I don’t know. A long, long time ago. My parents first read it to me whenever they started reading to me. I was super, super young.
JP: What did you do when you found out that you got the role?
Records: I was pretty psyched. I don’t know what I did specifically. Was probably just super-mega mega psyched!
JP: I assume you may have had to act in front of CGI screens?
Records: Actually, there was basically no CGI screening — for the most part there were no screens. There was always Catherine Keener or somebody. When the ‘Wild Things’ weren’t there, then it was Catherine Keener right there off camera, reading the lines, or Spike or somebody.
JP: So you were able to meet some of your other costars?
Records: I have actually still never met some of the other costars. The few that I have met, which is Catherine O’Hara, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini and Forest Whitaker. The only times that I met those guys were during press junkets and stuff.
JP: What are your hobbies?
Records: Me and my friends like to wrap mattress film and duct tape around PVC piping and then make foam weapons out of it that we have big foam battles with.
Records: Yeah. It’s cool.
JP: That’s imaginative. Speaking of imagination, some say that the movie is a little too much for younger kids. What do you think about that?
Records: It depends on the kid. There are parts of it that are pretty intense. When I was 7 years old, I could not have seen this movie. It would’ve scared me. But my younger brother, who’s now 7, could’ve seen this a year ago. It depends on the kid.
JP: If you were on an island with these creatures, how would you have handled the situation?
Records: I probably wouldn’t have started a dirt-clod fight for fear of serious injury, but that’s about it for the most part.
JP: You were in almost every scene. Was it tough on you at all?
Records: There were times that were very hard and just tough. But there were also times that were totally just running around and having a bunch of fun. It was fun.
JP: When you finally got to sit down and see the movie, did it turn out how you thought it would?
Records: I guess when I went to see the movie the first time I didn’t have any expectations. I was just really excited to see it. I don’t know what I was thinking, but in the end, when I walked out of the theater I thought it was just so beautiful.
JP: So you’re looking for your next role now or just keeping your options open?
Records: I think if the right job comes along, that I’d definitely look into it. I think for the most part, right now me and my family are just gonna go and take a long, long nap.
— Jevon Phillips
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Photos: Max Records (top) arrives for the premiere of the film “Where the Wild Things Are,” in New York Tuesday, Oct., 13. Credit: Stuart Ramson/Associated Press. Bottom: Max and Carol in “Where the Wild Things Are.” Credit: Warner Bros.