If one were to take a gander at director Tim Burton’s recent work, one would find a filmography steeped in unoriginality: a musical adaptation, a television soap opera adaptation, a feature length stop-motion adaptation of a short, a remake, and an “re-imagining” of a 1865 novel that has already been adapted dozens of time. Though the he garnered recognition for his offbeat and gothic sense of anti-conformity, Burton has successfully entered the A-list top tier of blockbuster directors. Alice in Wonderland made over $1 billion at the box office worldwide. But the financial success of his films has not matched the critical success of his earlier films.
Big Eyes may be a return to form for Burton. The director will be teaming up with Ed Wood directors Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. Like Ed Wood, the film is a biopic described as comedic drama. Big Eyes tells the story of married couple, Walter and Margaret Keane (Waltz and Adams), who became art world phenomenons in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to their paintings of large-eyed children. There lives became steeped in controversy when it was revealed through a legal battle that Margaret had been creating all the paintings that Walter was taking credit for.
Much like Burton’s interest in Ed Wood and the parallels between Wood’s relationship with Legosi and Burton’s own relationship with Vincent Price, the director has a personal attachment to the Keane material. The filmmaker commissioned Margaret to paint a portrait of his then-partner Lisa Marie. With the absence of Johnny Depp, the cast of Burton newcomers will hopefully make this project a more character-driven piece. Both Adams and Waltz have proven themselves repeatedly as outstanding character actors.The same goes for Jason Schwartzman, best known for his fanciful collaborations with Wes Anderson. Schwartzman recently wrapped Anderson’s upcoming movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and will soon be seen in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. Schwartzman will play a San Francisco art gallery owner called Ruben in Big Eyes, which is expected to start shooting this summer.