Catherine Keener Keen on Children's Book Master Maurice Sendak

For years, Catherine Keener would join filmmakers Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs on trips to Connecticut to visit with reclusive "Where the Wild Things Are" author Maurice Sendak.

He wasn't the most warm-and-fuzzy person, but he kept drawing Keener back.

"He’s an irresistibly loveable, loving person,” Keener said. “He just has that effect of making everyone feel good, worth it, worthy. He’s really funny too.”

Bangs and Jonze turned the visits into a short film, "Tell Them Anything You Want"; a 39-minute endearing look at the 82-year-old illustrator-storyteller. Keener attended a screening of the film  last night at Ace Hotel’s basement space The Liberty Hall, part of a fairly fresh monthly series featuring film screenings and Q&A’s.

The film, a poignant portrait of Sendak, was created over the course of five years during Bangs’ and Jonze’s simultaneous adaptation of Sendak’s classic, "Where the Wild Things Are."

Both filmmakers participated in the screening/Q&A with Keener.

Jonze explained Keener's role.

"Whoever was around became part of it," he said. "And Maurice loves Keener."

In the intimate doc, Sendak kidded about being proposed to multiple times a year by different women, including Keener.

As for how the introverted creative feels about Jonze, Keener revealed

“[Maurice] loved Spike so much," she said. "I know he was very effected by Spike and this whole experience."

Photo courtesy Nate "Igor" Smith of Driven By Boredom.

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