By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood October 11, 2012 at 3:44PM
Since "Frankenweenie," August has sought creative satisfaction with the "Big Fish" musical, which has expanded the Southern yarn- spinning tale and father-son conflict with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa ("The Addams Family").They are joined by director Susan Stroman ("The Producers") and two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz ("Catch Me If You Can") in the lead role.
"Things that were really hard to do in the movie version are simpler to do when characters sing about their frustration," August continues. "You don't have close-ups so you give up the camera control. A character can take two steps to the left, though, and be in a new scene, or you can be in multiple time periods at once, and the audience uses its imagination to see a character as two things at once, which is terrific. It was good to have the movie to draw on when there was a question about a moment not working and realizing that the answer was there."
August isn't sure if "Chosen" will be picked up (he's collaborating with Josh Friedman, who developed "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"), but the development of this teen romance and conspiracy tale has been more fulfilling than most recent feature projects that have been committee-driven (his adaptation of the graphic novel, "Preacher," which he originally developed for Sam Mendes, is likely DOA). Although he'd like to direct again someday, it'll probably be something bigger and more ambitious than micro-budget drama "The Nines." In the meantime, he's learning a lot about the confluence of technology and creativity working with VFX folks on his screenwriting apps. If only some Silicon Valley money would trickle down and save Hollywood, he fantasizes.
"It's a frustrating time and also an exciting time. While the gear seems stuck in certain places, a lot of people are able to do an end around and make the movies they want to make. I love big screens and the experience of watching a movie with an audience in a dark room. And I think we'll have multiple platforms and always have theaters if for no other reason that teenagers need to get away from their parents. I loved seeing 'The Master' in 70mm. There was nothing committee about it whatsoever. There isn't one right way or wrong way to shoot a movie. We need to embrace digital and embrace film and whatever way people want to tell their stories. And that includes stop-motion as an antidote to CG. If we get so calcified, we're going to lose art forms and lose ways of telling stories in different ways."
"Big Fish" opens a five-week run at Chicago's Oriental Theater, starting April 2, 2013.