Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes” – Why I’m Giddy About It

So for anyone who isn’t already aware, Tim Burton is finally making a new movie, and PLOT TWIST – Johnny Depp won’t be playing the main protagonist. *Le gasp*, I know.




Fun fact: While engaged to actress Lisa Marie Smith, Burton commissioned Keane to paint her.

Now, I’m not usually one to attack Burton for his casting choices, although he does seem to over-enjoy the use of both Depp and his wife Helena Bonham Carter in his films, both of them have played each and every one of their roles perfectly. Burton’s unique style is in part defined by his choice of actors, just like another one of the world’s greatest directors, Quentin Tarantino. Being a huge fan of both directors, any remote connection between the two would get me excited, but I was absolutely over the moon when I found out that none other than Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained) would be starring in the film, alongside actress Amy Adams (The Master, The Fighter, Enchanted). Quentin Tarantino originally brought Waltz to the world’s attention after casting him as Colonel Hans Landa, the charming and ingeniously manipulative S.S. Officer  in his 2009 film Inglorious Basterds, a rewritten history of the collapse of the Nazi regime for which he was awarded an Oscar for best actor. A couple of years later, Waltz was once again cast in a Quentin Tarantino flick, but this time as Dr. King Schultz, a former dentist turned successful bounty hunter who buys the freedom of Django, and trains him to be his deputy. Waltz walked away with another Oscar, this time for best supporting actor for his role in Django, and his versatility as an actor that Quentin Tarantino brought to light instantly made him a big name in Hollywood.

Margaret Keane's painting "The Stray"

Margaret Keane’s painting “The Stray”

Big Eyes is a set to be a biopic based on the true life story of Walter and Margaret Keane (please don’t click the link if you’re going to hate me for spoilers), a husband and wife artist duo famous during the 1960s for their characteristic paintings of children with large, sad eyes. The film script was written by Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, both of whom contributed to the scripting of Burton’s Ed Wood (1994). Initially, Karaszewski and Alexander were supposed to direct the flick, with Burton acting as producer and Ryan Reynolds and Reese Witherspoon playing the lead roles. However, due to financing issues that arose before the project could begin filming, Burton stepped in and took the seat as director, recasting the lead roles. Financing issues are probably one of the best things that could have happened with this film, which now has the star power of two award-winning actors (Adams won an Oscar for The Master).

Tim Burton has a knack for creating films that are always distinctly his own, and I’m really looking forward to how he tackles the aspects of  this film which might be more “new” to him, whilst still maintaining his notorious off-beat, dark, gothic, macabre and quirky take on horror and fantasy.Big Eyes is going to be a movie to keep an eye on for several reasons – firstly, Burton’s new casting choices open up interesting potential for the characters, especially considering Waltz’s exceptionally versatile acting. Secondly, the film’s concept is an interesting mix of predictable, but still somewhat new for Burton. The scriptwriters have a tendency to enjoy writing about offbeat, real-life figures, and Burton’s fascination with kitschy period material, eccentric creative types, and Margret Keane herself  make the film seem like it would be a “typical Tim Burton film”. However, he has a distinct style characterised by a unique flair for visuals and larger genre-oriented studio properties, and his love for stop motion animation. Big Eyes, on the other hand, will be a smaller-scale indie drama distributed by the Weinstein Company (Django Unchained, The Silver Linings Playbook, The Artist).

Also, bets on whether Danny Elfman will be working on the soundtrack anyone?

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