Tim Burton’s tendency to work with the same collaborators has long been acknowledged (and viciously lampooned), though this is one relationship that the director hasn’t tapped in a while. The screenwriting team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski penned 1994s Ed Wood, which many (er, this writer) would argue serves as Burton’s directorial peak. It appears that Burton is keen to get the band back together, for a pair of projects.
The first is a 3D stop-motion adaptation of The Addams Family. Burton has been attached to direct for months now: Alexander and Karaszewski have now signed on as the primary scribes. Karaszewski promises, “We’ve come up with an approach that nobody has ever done before… We want the tone to be as darkly funny and subversive as the Addams drawings.” Hit the jump for details on the second project, Big Eyes, based on the artistic struggles of Margaret Keane.
As the duo met with Burton to discuss The Addams Family, Alexander and Karaszewski presented their script for Big Eyes, a project which they intended to direct. The narrative centers on the relationship between Walter and Margaret Keane, and their public battle to claim authorship of an art denoted by children with big eyes. A summary of how it unfolded, courtesy of Deadline:
“Walter Keane became a national celebrity and talk show fixture in the 1950s after he pioneered the mass production of prints of big-eyed kids, and used his marketing savvy to sell them cheaply in hardware stores and gas stations across the country. Unfortunately, he claimed to be the artist. That role was played by Margaret, his shy wife. She generated the paintings from their basement and Walter’s contribution was adding his signature to the bottom. The ruse broke up their marriage, and when she tried to make it known that she authored the paintings, they ended up in a court battle after Walter called her crazy. The case culminated in a dramatic courtroom showdown. The judge put up two easels, side by side, and challenged each of them to start painting. He begged off, blaming a shoulder injury, while she dashed off her familiar big-eyed creation.”
Yeah, that’s definitely a story I’d buy a ticket for. This isn’t necessarily the team I would hire to tell it (“From the minds of Agent Cody Banks!”), but there’s an undeniable potential.
Just taking a look at Keane’s artwork, you can tell it’s right up Burton’s alley. He quickly boarded Big Eyes as producer, explaining in a statement,
“I am excited to be working with Scott and Larry again. I’ve always been a great admirer of Margaret Keane’s work and find her story intriguing.”