Tim Burton goes back to small, oddball drama for the strange-but-true story of a bizarre 1960s art fad
In some respects it’s been a rough few years for Tim Burton when it comes to both film critics and his longtime fans, and while the once-celebrated master of cinematic weirdness scored a massive hit with his live-action Alice in Wonderland, his long-gestating Dark Shadows was an expensive commercial and critical flop. But now he’s heading back into Ed Wood-territory for the much-anticipated artist-biopic Big Eyes, the trailer for which has debuted today.
The film is based on the true story of Margaret Keane, whose unsettling paintings of children with enormous, expressive eyes became an early-1960s pop-art phenomenon (embraced by mainstream audiences and celebrities alike) that her then-husband Walter turned into a profitable mass-merchandising empire.
However, Walter also maintained that he had created the paintings himself, supposedly on the basis of women’s art not being as popular with consumers. The couple divorced in 1965, with Margaret waging a bitter public and legal struggle to regain credit for her work; culminating in a famous 1986 courtroom showdown where a judge opted to decide the case via a “paint-off” between the two parties which Margaret ultimately won.
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz will portray Margaret and Walter in the film; with Terence Stamp, Jason Schwartzman and Krysten Ritter also starring. The project was being said to have “awards buzz” prior to its completion.