C&TCF Tidbit #26: Meet John August- Screenwriter

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C&TCF Tidbit #26: Meet John August- Screenwriter

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:20 pm


John August's screenwriting credits include Go, Big Fish, Titan A.E., Charlie's Angels (2000), and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003). His current projects include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tarzan, and Corpse Bride. He also maintains a screenwriting-oriented website at johnaugust.com.

Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, John earned a degree in journalism from Drake University in Iowa and an MFA in film from the Peter Stark program at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles. John has a weekly screenwriting column on IMBD (Internet Movie Database), in the "Ask a Filmmaker" section of indie.imdb.com.


The following is a question and answer posted on his homepage.

Did I ever watch the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Q. I remember reading on IMDb, that you told Tim Burton that you had never seen the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I don’t think I have read anything on your site about that subject. Have you in fact seen the original Willy Wonka? What do you advise on that anyway? And is Charlie a remake or sequel or neither?

A. First off, I’m hesitant to say too much, because I don’t want to spoil anything about the new movie. It’s true that when Tim Burton asked me to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, my first question was whether I should watch the original movie. (It’s not like I was raised off the grid by hippie survivalists, but somehow I had never seen it.) Tim urged me not to watch it until after I handed in the first draft, which I think was wise.

Halfway into my second draft, I finally watched the 1971 Gene Wilder version, and it was jarring. No disrespect to the movie, which is obviously beloved by a generation of my peers, but it was visually and narratively very, very different from Roald Dahl’s book. True, most of the main story elements were still there, such as the rotten children and the chocolate river. But some of the choices made - killing off Charlie’s father, adding Slugworth, the acid trip on the pink boat – wouldn’t have been my choices.

And in some ways, it’s great that the original movie did its own thing, because it gives the new movie a chance to use some of the overlooked parts of Dahl’s book. (But no, I won’t divulge which parts those are.)
Although the press will inevitably call this a remake of Willy Wonka, it should properly be called a new version of Roald Dahl’s book. I honestly think that if the 1971 movie had never been made, we would still be making this one. It’s testimony to the timelessness of Dahl’s books that they remain so popular today.

The movie is very similar to the book, with a little extra to explain how Willy Wonka became a candy magnate, and an ending that goes a little further to pay off Wonka’s handing-off of the factory to Charlie. With Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, I think the movie will absolutely rock. And I’ll sign my real name to that statement.


Writer - filmography
(In Production) (2000s) (1990s)
1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) (post-production) (screenplay)
2. Alaska (2003) (TV)
3. Big Fish (2003) (screenplay)
4. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) (screenplay) (story)
5. Charlie's Angels (2000) (written by)
... aka 3 Engel für Charlie (Germany)
6. Titan A.E. (2000) (screenplay)
... aka Titan: After Earth (USA: promotional title)
7. "D.C." (2000) TV Series (writer) (3 episodes)
8. Go (1999) (written by)
9. God (1998)
Filmography as: Writer, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Second Unit Director or Assistant Director, Director
Producer - filmography
(2000s) (1990s)
1. "D.C." (2000) TV Series (co-executive producer)
2. Go (1999) (co-producer)
Filmography as: Writer, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Second Unit Director or Assistant Director, Director
Miscellaneous Crew - filmography
1. Minority Report (2002) (script doctor) (uncredited)
Filmography as: Writer, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Second Unit Director or Assistant Director, Director
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director - filmography
1. Go (1999) (second unit director)
Filmography as: Writer, Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Second Unit Director or Assistant Director, Director
Director - filmography
1. God (1998)

To read the original shooting script for Big Fish click on the link below.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby fansmom » Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:15 pm

I read the book Big Fish last summer after seeing the movie for the second time, and thought it was one of the rare occasions in which the movie is better than the book, which gives me high hopes for CATCF as another Burton/John August work.

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Unread postby es » Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:20 am

i havent read big fish,just saw the movie and really loved it.
i agree that its smart not see the gene wilder movie before you make your own script you will be influenced by that and from hearing this man my hopes for this movie is just a little bigger again.
man it takes a long time till july,greetings,

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