EXCLUSIVE: 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.
Waltz, 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.