Max Records vaulted from a whip-smart Portland grade school student to imminent movie star amid a 2009 promotional crescendo for Warner Bros. ' much-delayed, much-anticipated film version of "Where th...
Maxwell Records was born on June 18, 1997 into a Portland, OR household that would condition him early to being film-ready. His father, Shawn Records, a highly regarded freelance photographer, often made Max and his younger brother Sam the subject of his work. Though gravitating to iconic pop culture such as the "Star Wars" franchise, fellow Portland native Matt Groening's "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ), and the comic books of manga pioneer, Osamu Tezuka, Records did not necessarily see himself as a burgeoning thespian. He had only done one small part in a school play - a performance he considered undistinguished - when, at age nine, he picked up an acting job on a video for the rock band Death Cab for Cutie, which appeared on the band's DVD, "Directions" (2006).
Not long after, Jonze began the nationwide search for a boy to play the central role of (serendipitously enough) Max in a sweeping adaptation/elongation of the Sendak classic, with thousands of boys submitting for the part. The director of the Death Cab video knew one of Jonze's previous collaborators and recommended Records. Curiously, for Records' in-person audition with Jonze, the director asked for no line readings but assessed the boy informally, at one point sparring with him with toys and inflatable boxing gloves. Jonze consulted Sendak and both agreed Records was their Max. Soon enough, Records was winging to Australia to begin shooting the live-action aspects of the $80 million film, which would also feature CGI and animatronic puppetry.
With most of the photography done by the second half of 2006, "Wild Things" hit a post-production rough patch at the end of 2007, with reports of a rough-cut of its extended story arc - the book was only 10 sentences long - frightening juvenile test audiences in a special screening. Records, playing a bratty kid who escapes his problems at home into a wooded fantasyland full of physically frightening but friendly beasts, even found his performance under fire, with rumors swirling that Warner Bros. might replace both him and Jonze on the project. The studio stuck with both, and Jonze's reported supplementation of his elaborate beast costumes with CGI effects put the film back on track for a late 2009 release. In the meantime, Records journeyed to Serbia for his second feature, "The Brothers Bloom" (2008). He appeared in a brief but pivotal opening scene, playing one of the title characters amid their formative years as young grifter. Although shot after "Wild Things," it opened first, becoming Records official feature debut.
Anticipation around "Wild Things" began mounting with the spring release of film clips and Records himself presenting a sneak preview before an enthused audience at San Diego's annual Comic-Con in July 2009. His hometown alternative weekly, Willamette Week, in its July 22 "Best Of" issue tabbed Records as the city's "Best Future Superstar" - and much of the advance notice of his performance seemed to conspicuously reverse the less sanguine rumors of the year previous. Records' parents made the decision to keep him away from local Portland media, however, and both they and their still young son have said they intend to be extremely selective about future projects, to attempt to keep stardom from overly interfering overly with his schooling and disrupting a relatively normal childhood.
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.