Screenwriter John August read a manuscript of the novel six months before it was published and convinced Columbia Pictures to acquire therights. August began adapting the novel while producers negotiated with Steven Spielberg who planned to direct after finishing Minority Report (2002). Spielberg considered JackNicholson for the role of Edward Bloom, but eventually dropped the project to focus on Catch Me If You Can (2002). Tim Burton and Richard D. Zanuck took over after completingPlanet of the Apes (2001) and brought Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor on board.
The film's theme of reconciliation between a dying father and his son had special significancefor Burton, as his father had died in 2000 and his mother in 2002, a month before he signed on to direct. Big Fish was shot on location in Alabama in a series of fairy talevignettes evoking the tone of a Southern Gothic fantasy. The film received award nominations in multiple film categories, including four Golden Globe nominations, sevennominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, two Saturn Award nominations, and an Oscar and a Grammy Award nomination for Danny Elfman's original score.