Tim Burton To Direct ‘Big Eyes’; The Weinstein Company Putting Finishing Brush Strokes On Deal For Painting Saga

Tim BurtonEXCLUSIVE: Tim Burton will direct Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams in Big Eyes, the film that Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski scripted. At the same time, The Weinstein Company is closing a deal to fund and distribute. This is a major development on a project that has followed a long development track. Of all the development projects I’ve written about over the years, this is my favorite that has not yet gotten made. And the casting seems so promising. The film will be produced by Alexander and Karaszewski and Burton, with Electric City Entertainment’s Lynette Howell. This will be Burton’s next film, and production will begin this summer.

Christoph WaltzAmy AdamsWaltz, who’s coming off another Oscar turn in Django Unchained, and Adams, nominated for The Master, will play Margaret and Walter Keane, whose paintings of large eyed children became one of the first mass marketed art sensations in the 50s and 60s. Those prints sold in gas stations and every five and dime store across the country. While Walter was the marketing genius, he also took the bows for doing the brush work. He was a full fledged celebrity, a regular on the TV talk show circuit. His shy wife was the actual artist in the family. When they split and she tried to get her due, he painted her as being eccentric, and they ended up in court. There, a judge finally provided them with two easels and ordered them to prove it. Walter’s art reputation went down on the canvas when he begged off because of what he said was pain in his arm. She whipped up one of her trademark big-eyed works.

The screenwriters, Alexander and Karaszewski, worked with Burton previously on Ed Wood, and they wrote many other films including The People Vs. Larry Flynt. They’ve been pushing this one up the hill for years, with various filmmakers and casts. Most recently, they had intended to direct the film, and had Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Reynolds lined up as the leads. At that time, Burton was lined up as a producer, but now he has taken the directing reins.

TWC’s Harvey Weinstein and his team led by David Glasser are closing up on the deal as we speak. Burton’s repped by WME, Waltz by ICM Partners, Adams by WME and Brillstein, Alexander and Karaszewski by CAA.

Comments (49)

  • Great Job Scott & Larry!! Someone’s looking out 4U.

    Comment by Tony Clifton — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 5:05pm PDT  
  • Why the hell did Reynolds and Witherspoon drop out? Burton is a legend. Their loss.

    Comment by Hiker — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 5:10pm PDT  
    • Could’ve been as simple as the length of the development process on this and the room they had — or didn’t have — in the skeds.

      Comment by kplan — Wednesday April 3, 2013 @ 10:36am PDT  
  • So happy Johnny and Helena aren’t the leads.

    Comment by That Guy — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 5:32pm PDT  
  • Burton ain’t no dummy. Knew Reynolds and Witherspoon would not draw to box office! Now, looking forward to it!

    Comment by MnL — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 5:37pm PDT  
    • Um, because Carnage, Trouble with the Curve, The Master, Frankenweenie were gigantic box office winners. Easy prediction: this film will not make a penny. It reminds me of Side Effects. Rooney Mara instead of Blake Lively would have increased exponentially the film’s box office success… If I am not wrong, it made less money than The Savages. Lucky strike for Lively. She would have been certainly blamed for the utterly disappointing result.

      Comment by Louise — Wednesday April 3, 2013 @ 6:25am PDT  
      • Rooney Mara is orders of magnitude better than Blake Lively, who is a decent actress but doesn’t register any kind of memorable persona on screen, like Uma Thurman. Neither Rooney or Blake can bring much box office (Savages, a lousy movie BTW, rose and fell on Oliver Stone’s declining rep), so go with the better actress is what Soderbergh probably thought.

        Comment by rooney>blake — Wednesday April 3, 2013 @ 9:00am PDT  
        • Actually, he fought to keep Lively. Anyway, if anyone thought that Rooney would have ensured better box office grosses he/she was evidently wrong. Why do you bring up Uma Thurman?

          Comment by Louise — Wednesday April 3, 2013 @ 10:37am PDT  
          • I bring up Uma as an example of the sort of actress that Blake Lively is. One who doesn’t register in the memory no matter how many times you see her.

            Comment by rooney>blake — Thursday April 4, 2013 @ 8:17am PDT  
  • Excellent script. Looking forward to seeing the film.

    Comment by 100stones3x — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 5:41pm PDT  
  • I completely agree! No Johnny, Helena, Reynolds and Witherspoon! Rock on Adams and Waltz!

    Comment by Agent007 — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 5:43pm PDT  
  • I hate to say it, but I’d MUCH rather see Waltz/Adams in this than Reynolds/Witherspoon.

    Comment by bounder — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 6:04pm PDT  
  • always thought the script was good… have heard of sooo many people being attached. i wish there was a write-up/ listing of that… i recall thomas haden church at one point, jim carrey.
    this seems like the best pairing with the material yet. REYNOLDS WOULD HAVE BEEN GOD AWFUL. i never saw that one.. as i would have still been cleaning the vomit out of my shirt.
    (let’s not be ridiculous either.. i’m sure the film didn’t pass on Depp) Waltz is going to be magnificent.
    maybe it will be burton’s first good film SINCE ed wood.

    Comment by phew — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 6:05pm PDT  
    • WITHERSPOON WOULD OF BEEN GOD AWFUL and you would of had to take your clothes to the cleaners or throw them out.

      Adams and Waltz will rock this! Looking forward to it!

      Comment by Rose Colored Glasses — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 6:28pm PDT  
  • Big Eyes indeed…But the question remains…what is the audience for this semi-biopix ? Does anyone under age 60 remember (or care) about the Keane kitsch sticht ?

    Comment by k4kafka — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 6:12pm PDT  
    • Did anyone under the age of 60 remember or care about Ed Wood? No, yet it remains his finest film in my opinion. Very excited about this.

      Comment by Robby — Wednesday April 3, 2013 @ 2:28am PDT  
    • Are you kidding? Margaret’s work sells like hotcakes! I have always loved the haunting eyes! About time Hollywood does another good movie without all the violence! Can’t wait to see it!

      Comment by Jeannie — Wednesday April 3, 2013 @ 5:08am PDT  
    • I remember. Granted, I am 59, however, through me, my two girls know well this story of a man who was all about self-serving power and control. As a survivor of domestic violence, this story is one of the most passive aggressive examples of abuse. Not only did this creep try to steal her celebrity, he did so over most of this woman’s incredible career. BTW, my 27-year-old has one of her oil paintings, which I purchased, unsigned, as it looked like a MKeane. This daughter is an artist. My 22-year-old was so jealous, I found a Keane print for her, with the wrong credit on the brass tag. Additionally, my granddaughter, 4, was also given a Keane print. In conclusion, one of my nephews has “The Escape,” which belonged to my mom, and I hope to get it some day…

      Comment by justus — Thursday April 4, 2013 @ 3:16pm PDT  
  • More like Big Sunglasses to me.

    Comment by Brad — Tuesday April 2, 2013 @ 6:22pm PDT  
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