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Spike Jonze
Born October 22, 1969
Birthplace Rockville, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality American
Jackass Career
Roles Crew (producer)
Seasons 1, 2 and 3

Spike Jonze[]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Spike Jones (disambiguation).

Spike Jonze
Jonze at the premiere of Her, 2013 New York Film Festival
Born Adam Spiegel

October 22, 1969 (age 44)
Rockville, Maryland, United States

Occupation Film director, film producer, screenwriter, actor
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Sofia Coppola ( 1999–2003)
Relatives Sam Spiegel (brother)

Spike Jonze (pronounced "Jones" /dʒoʊnz/; born Adam Spiegel; October 22, 1969) is an American director, producer, screenwriter and actor, whose work includes music videos, commercials, film and television. He started his feature film directing career with Being John Malkovich (1999) and Adaptation (2002), both written by Charlie Kaufman, and then started movies with screenplays of his own with Where the Wild Things Are(2009) and Her (2013).

Jonze is well known for his music video collaborations with Fatboy Slim, Weezer, Beastie Boys, and Björk. He was a co-creator and executive producer of MTV's Jackass.[1] He is currently the creative director of VBS.tv.[2]He is part owner of skateboard company Girl Skateboards with riders Rick Howard and Mike Carroll.

He co-founded Directors Label, with filmmakers Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry, and the Palm Pictures company.[3]

He has been nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Director for Being John Malkovich, and Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Song ("The Moon Song") for Her. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay, the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, and the 2014 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Her.



  • 1 Early life and education
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Filmography
    • 4.1 Director
      • 4.1.1 Feature films
      • 4.1.2 Short films
      • 4.1.3 Music videos
      • 4.1.4 Video
      • 4.1.5 Skateboard videos
    • 4.2 Other filmography
    • 4.3 Television
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links

Early life and education[edit][]

Jonze was born on October 22, 1969 in Rockville, Maryland, and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and in Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania. His father, Arthur H. Spiegel III, was a distant relation of the Spiegel catalog family, and founded APM Management Consultants. His mother, Sandra L. Granzow, is a writer, communications consultant in developing countries, and artist.[4][5][6] His brother, Sam "Squeak E. Clean" Spiegel, is a producer and DJ.[7] He also has a sister, Julia. His father was from a German Jewish family, while his mother has German, Scottish, and English (Christian) ancestry.[8][9]

Jonze attended the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California. When he was in junior high in high school (Walt Whitman High School), Spiegel spent time at a Bethesda community store, where the former owner Mike Henderson gave him his nickname "Spike Jonze" in reference to Spike Jones.[10] He fronted Club Homeboy, an international BMX club, with Mark "Lew" Lewman and Andy Jenkins, both co-editors of Freestylin' Magazine in the mid- to late 1980s, where Jonze worked as a photographer.[11] The three also created the youth culture magazines Homeboy and Dirt (the latter of which was described as "Sassy Magazine for boys," being published by the same company and distributed in cellophane bags with the landmark magazine for young women).[10]


In 2006, he was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for "Outstanding Achievement in Commercials in 2005." He was nominated for a body of work that included Hello Tomorrow for Adidas, Lamp for IKEA, and Pardon Our Dust for The Gap.[12] He was a producer and co-creator of MTV television series Jackass and Jackass: The Movie, also directing some of the segments.[1] Jonze has acted in some videos and films; his most prominent role was in Three Kings as the sweet, dimwitted, casually racist Conrad, in which he was directed by friend David O. Russell.[1]

Jonze was a co-founder and editor of Dirt magazine along with Mark Lewman and Andy Jenkins, as well as an editor for Grand Royal Magazine and senior photographer for Transworld Skateboarding.[citation needed] In the past, Jonze shot street skateboarding videos, most notably Blind's highly influential Video Days in 1991, and Lakai Footwear's Fully Flared in 2007.[1] He co-directed the Girl Skateboards film Yeah Right! and the Chocolate Skateboards video Hot Chocolate.[1] In the closing credits montage of Yeah Right!, Spike is shown doing a nollie heelflip in loafers. He is co-owner of Girl Skateboards.[13]

Jonze holding a producer credit forThe 1 Second Film.

Jonze has many alter egos, including Richard Koufey (alternately spelled Coufey or Couffe), the leader of the Torrance Community Dance Group, an urban troupe that performs in public spaces. The Koufey persona appeared when Jonze, in character, filmed himself dancing to Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank" as it played on a boom box in a public area.[14] Jonze showed the video to Slim, who appears briefly in the video around the 3:57 mark.[15] Jonze then assembled a group of dancers to perform to Slim's "Praise You" outside a Westwood, California movie theater and taped the performance. The resulting clip was a huge success, and "Koufey" and his troupe were invited to New York City to perform the song for the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. The video received awards for Best Direction, Breakthrough, and Best Choreography, which Jonze accepted, still in character. Jonze made a mockumentary about the experience called Torrance Rises.[1]

He has a speaking part along with Dave Eggers in the Beck song "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" from his 2006 album, The Information. He appears in the "Exoskeleton" part.[16]

Since 2007, he has been the creative director at VBS.tv, an online television network supplied by Vice and funded by MTV.[2]

Spike Jonze was part of the Detour-Moleskine project in New York in 2007.[16] The project invites authors to compile and illustrate Moleskine notebooks to provide an intimate insight into the artists' creative process.

In 2008 he co-produced a new video for the Chocolate Skateboards "Easy Steady", direct by Ty Evans and Federico Vitetta in Milan, featuring the song "Felicità" by Bugo.[17]

Jonze directed Where the Wild Things Are,[18] which opened in the United States on October 16, 2009. It was arguably his most anticipated film to date, the product of an almost decade long collaboration with author Maurice Sendak.[19] The film received generally favorable reviews, and appeared on many critics' end-of-the-year top ten lists.[20]

In July 2009, Jonze acquired the rights to make a film adaptation of the Shane Jones novel Light Boxes. However, Jonze, in an interview with Times Online, said that Ray Tintori was no longer a director for that project as expected.[21] In an interview with Interview Magazine in June 2010, Jones said the film option had been dropped.[22]

In 2010, he made a 28-minute short titled Scenes from the Suburbs, inspired by the Arcade Fire album The Suburbs. Scenes from his short were used in the music video to the album's title song, "The Suburbs". A dystopian vision of suburbia in the near-future, the short was co-written by Jonze, Win Butler, and Will Butler. Expanding on the themes of nostalgia, alienation, and childhood, the short premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and saw its online premiere at MUBI on June 27, 2011.[23]

Jonze is good friends with Björk and frequently works with her. He has directed three videos for her and she contributed the theme song for Jonze's Being John Malkovich film.

Jonze is working on another project with the Beastie Boys for the release of their Santigold collaboration, "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win." In a similar fashion to Jonze's recent work with Arcade Fire, he has directed both "short and epic-length videos" to partner with the single.[24]

In 2011, Jonze directed the music video for "Otis" the second single from the album Watch The Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West.[25] On November 3, 2013, Jonze directed the live music video for Arcade Fire's "Afterlife" and documented Lady Gaga's live performance of "Dope" with Chris Milk for the YouTube Music Awards.[26]

Jonze's next theatrical project Her was released in late 2013. Her is a science fiction romance film starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, Rooney Mara, and Scarlett Johansson, and is Jonze's first feature-length original screenplay. The film follows a man (Phoenix) who develops a relationship with a seemingly intuitive and humanistic female voice, named "Samantha" (Johansson), produced by an advanced computer operating system.[27] Jonze won the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay for Her.[28] Jonze has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Her, as producer for Best Picture, writer for Best Original Screenplay, and lyric writer for Best Original Song. On March 2, 2014, Jonze won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, which marks his first win. In 2013, Jonze played a role in The Wolf of Wall Street.[29]

Personal life[edit][]

On June 26, 1999, Jonze married director Sofia Coppola, whom he had first met in 1992.[30] On December 5, 2003, the couple filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences."[31] The character of John, a career-driven photographer (Giovanni Ribisi) in Coppola'sLost in Translation (2003), was rumored to be based on Jonze, though Coppola has vehemently denied this.[32]

Jonze began dating Michelle Williams in July 2008, after the death of Heath Ledger. They met on the set of Synecdoche, New York, which Williams starred in and Jonze produced. Williams called the timing of their relationship "impossible", and ended it in September 2009.[33]

In 2011, it was reported that he was dating Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi.[34]



Feature films[edit][]

Year Film Budget US Gross Awards and nominations Ref.
1999 Being John Malkovich $13 million $22,863,596 Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Breakthrough Artist (also for Three Kings)

Deauville Film Festival – Critics Award
Deauville Film Festival – Grand Special Prize
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Newcomer of the Year
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature (shared with Michael Stipe, Sandy Stern, Steve Golin, Vincent Landay)
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Newcomer
London Critics Circle Film Award for Director of the Year
MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Film
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Debut
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Director (2nd place)
Venice Film Festival – FIPRESCI Prize
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated – Bodil Award for Best American Film
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – César Award for Best Foreign Film
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Nominated – Empire Award for Best Debut
Nominated – Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (shared with Charlie Kaufman)
Nominated – Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Award for Best Foreign Director
Nominated – Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated – Robert Award for Best American Film

2002 Adaptation $19 million $22,498,520 Berlin International Film Festival – Jury Grand Prix

San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Director (2nd place)
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – Berlin International Film Festival – Golden Berlin Bear
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director

2009 Where the Wild Things Are $100 million $77,233,467 Also co-writer;

Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Writing

2013 Her $23 million $45,871,251[38] Also writer;

Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Original Screenplay
National Board of Review Award for Best Director
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
Pending – Saturn Award for Best Writing
Pending – Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture (shared with Megan Ellison and Vincent Landay)
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Song
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay (2nd place)
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – New York Film Festival – Grand Marnier Fellowship Award
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated – Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture (shared with Megan Ellison and Vincent Landay)
Nominated – Rome Film Fest – Golden Marc'Aurelio Award
Nominated – San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Director
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay


Short films[edit][]

Year Film Role Awards and nominations Ref.
1997 How They Get There Writer, director
1998 Amarillo by Morning Director
1999 Torrance Rises Co-director, choreographer, actor
2009 Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak Co-director
We Were Once a Fairytale Writer, director
2010 I'm Here Nominated – Berlin International Film Festival – Golden Berlin Bear (Best Short Film) [41]
2011 Scenes From the Suburbs Co-writer, director
Mourir Auprès De Toi Co-writer, co-director Nominated – Warsaw International Film Festival – Short Grand Prix Prize (shared with Simon Cahn) [42]

Music videos[edit][]

Year Song Artist Notes
1992 "High in High School" Chainsaw Kittens
"100%" Sonic Youth
1993 "Cannonball" The Breeders Co-directed by Kim Gordon

Produced by Steve Reiss

"Country at War" X
"Daughters of the Kaos" Luscious Jackson
"Hang On" Teenage Fanclub
"Time for Livin'" Beastie Boys
1994 "All About Eve" Marxman
"Buddy Holly" Weezer
"Ditch Digger" Rocket from the Crypt
"Divine Hammer" The Breeders
"Feel the Pain" Dinosaur Jr.
"I Can't Stop Smiling" Velocity Girl
"If I Only Had a Brain" MC 900 Ft. Jesus
"Old Timer" that dog.
"Ricky's Theme" Beastie Boys
"Sabotage" Also writer
"Sure Shot"
"Undone - The Sweater Song" Weezer
1995 "California" Wax
"Car Song" Elastica
"Crush with Eyeliner" R.E.M.
"Freedom of '76" Ween
"It's Oh So Quiet" Björk
"The Diamond Sea" Sonic Youth
"Who Is Next?" Wax
1996 "Drop" The Pharcyde
1997 "Da Funk" Daft Punk
"Electrolite" R.E.M.
"Elektrobank" The Chemical Brothers
"It's All About the Benjamins" (Rock Remix) Puff Daddy
"Liberty Calls" Mike Watt
"Shady Lane" Pavement
"Sky's the Limit" The Notorious B.I.G.
1998 "Home" Sean Lennon
"Praise You" Fatboy Slim A Torrance Public Film Production
"Root Down" version 2 Beastie Boys
2000 "Weapon of Choice" Fatboy Slim
"What's Up, Fatlip?" Fatlip
"Wonderboy" Tenacious D As Marcus Von Bueler
2002 "Island in the Sun" (version 2) Weezer
"Guess I'm Doing Fine" Beck
"It's in Our Hands" Björk
2003 "Big Brat" Phantom Planet
2004 "Get Back" Ludacris
"Y Control" Yeah Yeah Yeahs
2005 "Triumph of a Heart" Björk
2008 "Flashing Lights" Kanye West Co-directed with West
2009 "Heaven" UNKLE Co-directed with Ty Evans
"25" AsDSSka Co-directed with Crysal Moselle
2010 "Drunk Girls" LCD Soundsystem Co-directed with James Murphy
"The Suburbs" Arcade Fire
2011 "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win" Beastie Boys
"Otis" Jay-Z & Kanye West
2013 "Afterlife" Arcade Fire Directed live for the YouTube Awards


  • Ciao L.A. (director) (1994)
  • An Intimate Look Inside the Acting Process with Ice Cube (director) (1999)
  • What's Up, Fatlip? (director) (2003)
  • The Work of Director Spike Jonze (director) (2003)
  • The Mystery of Dalarö (director) (2004)
  • Corporate Ghost (actor, director) (2004)
  • Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow (cinematographer) (2004)

Skateboard videos[edit][]

  • Rubbish Heap for SMA World Industries (1989)
  • Two World Industries Men for World Industries (1990)
  • Video Days for Blind Skateboards (1991)
  • Goldfish for Girl Skateboards (1993)
  • Mouse for Girl Skateboards (1996)
  • The Chocolate Tour for Chocolate Skateboards (1999)
  • Yeah Right! for Girl Skateboards (2003)
  • Hot Chocolate! for Chocolate Skateboards (2004)
  • The Krooked Chronicles for Krooked Skateboards (2006)
  • Fully Flared for Lakai (2007)
  • The Final Flare! for Lakai (2008)
  • Pretty Sweet for Girl Skateboards (2012)

Other filmography[edit][]

Year Film Role Awards and nominations Ref.
1993 Mi Vida Loca Actor
1996 Pig!
1997 The Game
Free Tibet Cinematographer
1999 Three Kings Actor

(Private First Class Conrad Vig)

Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Breakthrough Artist (also for Being John Malkovich)
2001 Human Nature Producer Munich Film Festival High Hopes Award (shared with Anthony Bregman, Ted Hope, Charlie Kaufman) [12]
Keep Your Eyes Open Actor
2002 Jackass: The Movie Producer/Actor Golden Raspberry Award for Most Flatulent Teen-Targeted Movie
2006 Jackass: Number Two
The Fall
2008 Synecdoche, New York Producer Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature (shared with Charlie Kaufman, Anthony Bregman, Sidney Kimmel)

Nominated – Gotham Award for Best Film

Heavy Metal in Baghdad
2009 The 1 Second Film Producer/Actor
2010 Jackass 3D
Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life
2011 Moneyball Actor (Alán)
2013 Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Producer/Writer
The Wolf of Wall Street Actor (Dwayne)


Year Film Position
2000 Jackass Creator, executive producer
2004 Sonic Youth Video Dose Actor
2010–2012 The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Actor (Doug Whitney)