Your social currency ATM
24 September 2017 10:40 (South Africa)
Media

‘Wild Things’ success owes much to Eggers

  • Branko Brkic
    branko3048 a ray
    Branko Brkic

    Brkic is the founder and editor of The Daily Maverick.

    He has edited magazines on business and politics, technology, and wildlife. He has also published fiction and non-fiction books, most of them in Serbian. Though he has never pretended to be a reporter, his wide knowledge of politics (especially in America), combined with his experiences in a disintegrating Yugoslavia, gives him an unusual outlook on events in South Africa.

    Despite the vowel-poor surname, he tells anyone who asks that he hails from Hyde Park, Johannesburg, having spent most of his adult life in South Africa.

    Recent columns:

  • Media
where the wild things are 01

Where The Wild Things Are, a bold and visually rich film about the dark emotions of children, recently opened at top spot at the US box office. It couldn’t have happened without co-screenwriter Dave Eggers, one of the most talented and prolific young authors in America.

As a writer of books, Dave Eggers injects a vitality into his prose that’s the envy of novelists and non-fiction authors the world over. His first book, the bravely named A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, was a fictionalised memoir that played with stylised annotation and idiosyncratic self-reference to the extent that it practically defined its own genre. What is The What, his third full-length narrative, has become a standard for any writer wishing to tackle the subject of African migration, and his recent short story collection, How the Water Feels to the Fishes, is a remarkable journey through the secret corridors of consciousness.

But books is not all Eggers is about. He’s the founder of the respected literary journal McSweeney’s, a cover art designer for music albums, and a co-sponsor of non-profit organisations for Sudanese refugees and underprivileged children. Now, with Where the Wild Things Are, he has branched out into film, having co-written the screenplay with acclaimed director Spike Jonze.

Based on the illustrated children’s book by Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are is a homage to the dark and under-portrayed emotions of kids. The film explores a childhood country that Hollywood almost never visits, and clearly offers Eggers – who lost both his parents as a teenager and single-handedly raised his younger brother – an opportunity to mine a theme he knows intimately.

“I think as a culture we’ve gotten a lot more prone to overprotecting kids from any risk, disappointment, fear or threat,” Eggers told Rolling Stone magazine, in response to a critique that the film is too dark for its target audience. “But when kids write their own stories, they are always full of all of those things: death and decapitation and disappointment and treachery. Even at three, four, five years old. I think a lot of parents have forgotten these things.”

At Sendak’s request, Eggers has agreed to write a novelisation of the film, to be called The Wild Things.

By Kevin Bloom

Read more: Rolling Stone, Official Movie Site

WATCH: Dave Eggers' masterful TED talk

  • Branko Brkic
    branko3048 a ray
    Branko Brkic

    Brkic is the founder and editor of The Daily Maverick.

    He has edited magazines on business and politics, technology, and wildlife. He has also published fiction and non-fiction books, most of them in Serbian. Though he has never pretended to be a reporter, his wide knowledge of politics (especially in America), combined with his experiences in a disintegrating Yugoslavia, gives him an unusual outlook on events in South Africa.

    Despite the vowel-poor surname, he tells anyone who asks that he hails from Hyde Park, Johannesburg, having spent most of his adult life in South Africa.

    Recent columns:

  • Media

Get overnight news and latest Daily Maverick articles






Do Not Miss