Spike Jonze's short film about skateboarder Mark Gonzales' skills on two wheels instead of four will be one of the first shown on Friday as the Bicycle Film Festival pedals into the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Despite being a co-creator of Jackass and counting the gregarious Beastie Boys as friends, Jonze (below) has always been at pains to hide his true, introverted self. Pictures of his star-studded 1999 wedding to Hollywood indie princess Sofia Coppola (from whom he is now divorced) appeared in Vogue without featuring a single shot of the groom. Jonze - a pseudonym - directed the movie Where The Wild Things Are, based on the classic children's book by Maurice Sendak …

 

The American author and illustrator was considered by The New York Times to be "the most important children's book artist of the 20th century". One of Sendak's earliest influences was his father. As he listened to tales from the Bible, the young Maurice was unaware his dad was adding his own risque embellishments. Upon retelling the same "softcore Bible stories" to school friends, Maurice would be frequently sent home as punishment. Sendak also designed theatrical stage sets, including Houston Grand Opera's production of The Magic Flute, composed by Wolfgang AmadeusMozart …

 

The Austrian was a prodigious talent from an early age and composed more than 600 works before his death at the age of 35. A study in 1993 confirmed that listening to Mozart's concertos can temporarily improve spatial-temporal reasoning. Although these results, known as the "Mozart effect", have been misinterpreted as an improvement in general intelligence, the study did prove that listening to Mozart enhanced the subjects' performance on a specific cognitive task. Mozart's unpredictable genius was superbly portrayed in the movie Amadeus by American actor Tom Hulce …

 

Despite being openly gay, Hulce was, for many years, the subject of rumours he had been married and fathered a daughter. In a 2008 interview with Seattle Gay News, the actor turned stage director and producer refuted these allegations: "In the world of the internet there are many falsehoods. I'm comfortable being among the list [of gay actors] although I actually stopped acting about 10 years ago." In 1991, Hulce played the role of Ivan Sanchin in The Inner Circle, a drama based on the life of the KGB officer and private film projectionist of mass murderer Joseph Stalin …

 

The Soviet leader was an avid film buff and fancied himself as a director-cum-producer-cum-screenwriter, with each of his houses having its own cinema. Despite his love of the movies and their stars, however, the tyrant was so enraged when he heard of the anti-communist stance of American screen idol John Wayne he plotted to have the actor killed. In 1951, two hit men were sent to Wayne's Hollywood office, posing as federal agents, but the assassination was foiled by the FBI, which was aware of the plan. One of Stalin's favourite actors - and one he didn't try to have killed - was silent movie icon Charlie Chaplin …

 

The Little Tramp had a penchant for younger ladies. At the age of 54 he married his fourth wife, 17-year-old Oona O'Neill. It is said that Chaplin's marriage to his second wife, Lita Grey (he was 35, she was 16), was the inspiration for Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita, which contains several oblique references to the English actor's life. The comedian's mix of slapstick and social commentary has had influence as far afield as extreme sports, as evidenced by a skateboarding Chaplin homage directed by a pre-Hollywood Spike Jonze.