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Spike Jonze on making "Her"

Photo: 2563 - Todd Hido

The woman seems like she must be beautiful, although you can’t see her face. In the photograph, she stands with her back turned, gazing into the woods on a sunny day in late fall or early winter, her dark-blonde hair brushing her shoulders, almost tangibly present but at the same time unreachable. She’s real, but only in her world, not yours.

The print, by the artist Todd Hido, hangs on a wall near a giant rectangular dining-and-conference table in the loft where Spike Jonze lives and works when he’s in New York. Several years ago, Jonze saw it in a gallery and felt stirred by what he calls “the beautiful mysteriousness of it. And also, you know, the memory of it.”

Around a corner from where we’re standing, a bedroom glows behind a wall of curtained glass, but the flow of Jonze’s sunsplashed Lower East Side living space allows him to pad barefoot from where he writes to where he plays music to where he has meetings to where he eats to where he hangs out. Jonze grew up on the East Coast but has recently spent much of his time in Los Angeles, and the loft feels capacious enough to accommodate his many selves—one can imagine the skateboard brat of the eighties heel-flipping across the floor while the ­subversive-music-video prodigy of the nineties blasts the Beastie Boys and the still precocious but mature film artist of the last ten years shuts out the noise and works alone at his desk. His home is large enough to accommodate a crowd, but it’s designed for a party of one. Specifically, for a grown-up who wants room to think. It feels like a memory,” he says, raising his fingers toward the photograph. “The mood of a day without the specifics. A memory of this girl, in this beautiful, funny forest.”

When Jonze started to write his newest film, he made a small editorial addition to the image—a ragged piece of a yellow Post-it note that he stuck on the glass over the photograph. Then he took it off, replaced it with another, and then another. On the one that he finally decided felt right, he had written three lowercase letters in black marker: her.

“Huh, that’s still there!” he says, pleasantly surprised.

Read the full article here on Vulture.