'Her' director Spike Jonze on Scarlett Johansson and learning from Charlie Kaufman
Spike Jonze can't speak for the Academy - who failed to nominate Scarlett Johansson for her critically-acclaimed voice performance in "Her" - but he, for one, was moved by the actress's portrayal of an artificially-intelligent operating system who falls in love with a human man.
"I don't know enough about how the Academy decides that," said the director - talking backstage at the Oscars after winning Best Original Screenplay - of the organization's snub of Johansson's offscreen performance. "All I know is I saw what she did, and I loved what she did, and I was moved and affected by and watching her create that character even though it was just in a voice."
Speaking of Jonze's big win on Sunday night, it came not for directing but for writing - the latter being a relatively new career path for the filmmaker behind such visionary efforts as "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation," neither of which he penned himself (though he did write the script for 2009's "Where the Wild Things Are").
"I don't think I could have written a screenplay when I was younger," he said. "I think it took me a long time to understand how to write and understand how ?? and I learned a lot from ['Being John Malkovich' and 'Adaptation' screenwriter] Charlie [Kaufman], from working with Charlie; and I learned a lot from Dave Eggers and Maurice Sendak. And I think that ?? I don't know, but now I feel like I'm ready to actually write what I, what's in my heart and what I have to say. And so I feel like that's sort of this ?? that's what this chapter of my life is going to be."
If his most recent effort is any indication, Jonze is ready to tackle some mighty big themes.
"I was always thinking about [the world of 'Her'] as an abstract future, a slight future, and sort of creating a future ?? using the future as a way to sort of making a heightened version of the world we live in right now where everything is easy, everything is convenient, we never get lost anymore, our phone makes that easy for us; but, yet, there's still loneliness and longing," he said of the film. "This sort of melancholy of that idea that we should have everything we want, but we're still looking for connection."
To watch Jonze's full press conference, click on the video above.