Burton Taps Ed Wood Writers for 'Addams Family' & 'Big Eyes'
Back before Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton used to make better films with Johnny Depp before Pirates of the Caribbean came along and turned Depp into a superstar. One of their better and often unrecognized gems is the hilarious biopic Ed Wood, so I'm pleased with Deadline's report that the writers of that movie, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, will be writing both Burton's stop-motion version of The Addams Family and Big Eyes, a fact-based drama about Margaret Keane's struggle to get credit for the line of paintings of big-eyed children that became wildly popular in the 60's.
Aside from their work with Burton, the writing team have also written Man on the Moon and The People vs Larry Flynt. Those the writers will be working on both, Burton is only producing Big Eyes but still attached to direct The Addams Family. Karasewski talked about working with Burton again, specifically on adapting Charles Addams' classic comics: "The [MoMA] retrospective in New York of Tim's own artwork showed how much of an influence Charles Addams was to him. We want the tone to be as darkly funny and subversive as the Addams drawings, and we've come up with an approach that nobody has ever done before."
Meanwhile, Big Eyes is a project the writing duo had put together to direct themselves before the indie market took a bit of a turn for the worse in the last few years. Alexander explains: "It turns out [Burton is] a big fan of Margaret and has commissioned artwork from her. We thought the movie would have been made by now, but just when we were ready to go 18 months ago, the indie market fell apart… The smartest thing we did was to hang on to the script and not sell it. That has allowed us to set the reset button with Tim, and having him helps a tremendous amount with the way the independent film world is right now." Good!
The story is certainly a unique and interesting one. Margaret Keane had a talent for painting fantastically peculiar paintings of big-eyed kids. But her husband Walter Keane decided it was a good idea to pioneers mass production of prints of her paintings with his signature at the bottom of them. His deception caused a rift in their marriage which led to a big court case where he called Margaret crazy. But in move that feels like it was written for a film from the beginning, the judge simply placed two easels side-by-side in a courtroom and challenged them to start painting. And the rest is history…
Burton himself says, "I am excited to be working with Scott and Larry again," and I must say that I feel the same way. I'm not yet sold on The Addams Family movie (maybe with time and a look at character design), but Big Eyes sounds like a fantastic story that deserves to be realized on film. What do you guys think?