To this day, my all-time favorite movie trailer continues to be the magical, transportive, heart-heavy trailer for Where the Wild Things Are. I still get misty when I watch it.
I almost wish the movie hadn’t existed. The two-minute trailer completely captured the spirit of Maurice Sendak’s original book, and nothing else need be added.
The movie itself was good. It was really heavy, though. Spike Jonze created a kid’s movie that was designed for adults. It was a melancholy film, dark and scary in parts, and its bittersweetness overwhelmed some of the more hopeful themes. I still remember watching in a theater, and seeing kid after kid walking out with their parents, sobbing and bleary-eyed. It wasn’t the Wild Things that scared them, either. It was the discordant tone. It’s like watching Mommy and Daddy quietly fight: A kid has no idea what they are fighting about, but they can detect the sadness around them.
That’s what Where the Wild Things felt like, and I still haven’t been able to bring myself to show it to any of my children. In fact, my eight-year-old son has insisted that I no longer play any of Karen O’s soundtrack songs around him, because they make him feel heartsick. “Dad,” he’ll say. “I’m sad and I don’t know why.”
That’s Where the Wild Things Are to a tee.
However, the kid in it — Max Records (who plays Max) — was amazing. I’ve never seen a kid blend wide-eyed innocence and old-soul wisdom like Max Records. He was adventurous, yet contemplative, a sweet kid with a rebellious streak. It was pitch-perfect casting.
After Where the Wild Things Are came out in 2007, Records mostly disappeared. He appeared in Jonah Hill’s completely forgotten The Sitter, but he hasn’t been seen since 2011. He was 12 when Where the Wild Things Are opened, and probably 10 or 11 when it was filmed.
He’s 18 now. He has no social media presence. He hasn’t made a movie in years.
What happened to Max Records?
He probably went back to Portland, Oregon, where he’s from, went back to school, and continued leading the normal life of a teenager. That’s what I like to think, anyway.
But he’s not gone. In fact, he has another project in the works, due to to be released next year. He’ll be starring in I Am Not a Serial Killer, based on Dan Wells YA novel (which was turned into a trilogy). Directed by Billy O’Brien, the film will also star Christopher Lloyd, and it’s about a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies who must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer while keeping his own inner demons at bay.
Max Records will play John Wayne Cleaver, the teenager who is obsessed with serial killer and has his own serial-killing proclivities. He does not, however, act upon them, but he does understand them.
Not exactly the role I’d expect from the kid from Where the Wild Things Are, but Records has grown up.
A few months ago, he was filming in Minnesota, where this picture was taken:
Maybe he is perfect for the role, after all: A sweet kid with a rebellious streak.
No release date for the film has been set.