John August Makes Movie Magic

AB: You’re now sitting down and working on Shazam!, right?

JA: Yeah.

AB: What drew you to that? Obviously it’s a super hero, but an old super hero that isn’t around very much anymore.

JA: I don’t want to say too much about Shazam because it’s so early on in the process, but what is great about the Captain Marvel character in the Shazam! mythology is – the underlying idea is that a thirteen year old boy can say a magic word and turn into Captain Marvel. That’s the central concept of the story: that empowerment and the responsibility that comes with it.

AB: Didn’t he have a woman and a teen sidekick? Was the teen sidekick really a baby?

JA: There’s a lot of different variations on the mythology and I can’t really say how we’re doing it, but it definitely plays – it’s going to play well to kids, because they’re right there in that moment, but it’s going to play well to – it embodies that frustration and excitement of being a 13-year old.

AB: So, when you approached The Nines, do you feel like you had more control over the finished product?

JA: Certainly. Going back to the difference between the screenwriter – the person who originally plotting the story and getting it ready to be shot but isn’t the person who lifts up the hammer and builds it. This was a story where I really knew what I wanted to do – I knew how I wanted to build the story. I had not just a sense of the story I wanted to tell, but how I wanted to support this movie.

AB: Do you want to continue going in that direction?

JA: I definitely want to direct again. I don’t think it’s going to be super soon. I have a lot of other projects. I think it’s going to be a ways off, but I enjoyed it. The panic of directing is that you have about a thousand decisions a day – everyone’s coming up to you. As a writer, I don’t have to make any of those decisions and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it, but I surprised myself.