Tim Burton’s Next Project: Walter and Margaret Keane Biopic “Big Eyes”

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Yeah. Yeah. I know. Believe me, every time a new Tim Burton project is announced I’m the first one to roll their eyes. But even though Burton’s schtick is getting very old, he’s still not completely annoying. Not just yet.

 “Dark Shadows” wasn’t nearly as bad as critics made it out to be and “Frankenweenie” yet again proves that Burton’s strengths always lied in animation. Additionally, some of his more recently announced projects sound interesting such as that stop motion Addams Family movie and “Big Eyes” his Walter and Margaret Keane bio-pic that has been languishing in development Hell for several years.

Although that Addams Family project is looking more and more unlikely as time goes by, production on “Big Eyes” is set to begin this summer. According to Deadline Hollywood, “Big Eyes” will star,


[Christoph] Waltz…and…Amy Adams [as] 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.


First things first, the casting is perfect. Particularly Waltz who specializes in playing slightly unhinged, charmingly ego-centric assholes and Walter Keane – a man who once believed he was the victim in a vast conspiracy orchestrated by the Jehovah’s Witnesses- was easily one of the biggest, slightly unhinged, charmingly egocentric assholes the world has ever known.

The only foreseeable problem with this project is Burton. Sure, he’ll nail the kitschy period details but can he handle the darkly comic, acidic streak that runs throughout these events? Can he handle this off-kilter story with a degree of quiet subtlety? Or will he fall back on all of his tiresome quirks and clichés? Whatever the case may be, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic about “Big Eyes”.

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