Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Spike Jonze

Go To

"As a feature film director, you got to be a guarding dog of the whole production. You got to be able to hold 100 script pages in the head at the same time. If you miss a detail, it's wasted."

Spike Jonze (real name Adam Spiegel, born October 22, 1969 in New York City, New York) is an American director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Outside his accomplished film career, he is probably most well known for his string of music videos in the 1990s and co-creating and executive producing the MTV television series Jackass.

He apparently has a good grasp on quality control in terms of directing, seeing as his lowest-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes, Where the Wild Things Are, holds a 73% rating, which is considered "certified fresh". He also won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for hernote , which marked his solo screenwriting debut.

Not to be confused with novelty bandleader Spike Jones, from whom his stage name (given by the owner of a community store he frequented in high school) is based. And don't mix him up with Spike Lee.

Jonze as writer/director/producer:

Jonze as actor only:

Notable music videos directed by Jonze:

Tropes applied to his films or to himself include:

  • Auteur License: Gained one with his very first feature film, Being John Malkovich.
  • Companion Cube: He directed the famous "Lamp" commercial for IKEA.
  • Creator Cameo: That's him as the leader of the fictional Torrance Community Dance Group in the video for Fatboy Slim's "Praise You"
  • He Also Did:
    • He co-created Jackass. Anyone familiar with skateboard culture will tell you, his role isn't terribly surprising.
    • Before being known as an arthouse director, he was notable for directing Video Days, a skateboarding video.
  • Hipster: Frequently stated as various hipsters' go-to director, along with Wes Anderson.
  • My Nayme Is: Jonze is pronounced like the common surname Jones.
  • Directing Against Type: The co-creator of Jackass directing and writing an adaptation of a children's book?
  • Production Posse: Often works with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (though he would end up directing his own scripts instead, starting with Where the Wild Things Are onwards), cinematographer Lance Acord (though he's been replaced with Hoyte Van Hoytema from her onwards), composer Carter Burwell, and editor Eric Zumbrunnen (he was replaced with Jeff Buchanan following Zumbrunnen's death from cancer in 2017).
  • Recycled In Space: His short film I'm Here is essentially The Giving Tree with robots, and it's far better than it sounds.
  • Stylistic Suck: The video for Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" is a Deconstruction of this. None of the dancers are technically good dancers, least of all their leader 'Richard Koufey' (Jonze himself), but they are clearly rehearsed and disciplined, they're giving it their best shot, and somehow in spite of the general lameness of the dance itself, it's completely awesome.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: His films often deal with heavy philosophical concepts. It takes a Philosophy major to get them all.