Spike Jonze


Spike Jonze is one of the best regarded American directors of music videos and commercials and an Academy Award nominated director and producer in film and television, most notably for the 1999 film "Being John Malkovich" and the 2002 film "Adaptation", both written by Charlie Kaufman. Not to mention his work with Bjork, the Beastie Boys, Fatboy Slim and REM. An exceptional experimental film maker, he soon made a name by producing surreal commercials and videos, such as the one for Gorillaz, and the feature films following the visionary and completely surreal script by Kaufmann. He is credited in the skateboarding scene as the owner of the magazine Girl Skateboard and as the senior photographer for Transworls Skateboarding. His notebook contains unusual imagery, exploiting the long Japanese format to create the start and end of a scene on the first and last pages, as if constituting the trailer of a film or a crucial scene, held together by a drawstring, as if ready to open a stage curtain.

A simple drawing depicts a man whose arm has been severed. At the back of the notebook, the arm, detached and poised, is displayed with existentialist irony mixed with paranoia typical of many of his films. Jonze has many alter egos, which have included Richard Koufey (alternately spelled Coufey or Couffe), the leader of the Torrance Community Dance Group, an urban troupe that performs in public spaces. The Koufey persona appeared when Jonze, in character, filmed himself dancing to Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" as it played on a boombox in a public area. Spike showed the video to Slim, who loved it. Jonze then assembled a group of dancers to perform to Slim's "Praise You" which was taped outside a Westwood, California movie theater. The resulting clip was a huge success, and 'Koufey' and his troupe were invited to New York City to perform the song for the 1999 MTV Awards. The video received awards for Best Direction, Breakthrough Video and Best Choreography, which Jonze accepted, still in character. Jonze made a Mockumentary about the experience called Torrance Rises. In 2006, he was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for "Outstanding Achievement in Commercials in 2005." He also has a speaking part along with Dave Eggersin a Beck song titled The Horrible Fanfare/ Landslide /Exoskeleton from his 2006 album, The Information. He appears in the "Exoskeleton" bit. Currently, Jonze is directing Where the Wild Things Are which is now in its post-production stage.

Spike Jonze took part in Detour New York 2007