Cast: Amy Adams, Christopher Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Danny Huston, Terrence Stamp
UK rating: 12A Certificate
UK release date: 26th December 2014
Big Eyes is based on the real life story of Walter and Margaret Keane, the husband and wife behind a series of portraits in the 50’s and 60’s of woeful faced children and ‘waifs’ – recognised for their aforementioned big eyes.
Walter Keane claimed public credit for the portraits, whilst Big Eyes cites the actual painting done solely by Margaret Keane – Walter first exhibiting his wife’s work at a 1957 outdoor show in Washington Square Park, New York.
After success compounded the lie, the mass production and sale of low cost prints compounded the success; prominent celebrities of the time bought the Walter signed Margaret originals, whilst bovine America could pick up a cheap reproduction poster or postcard in their local gas station.
By the mid 60’s Walter Keane had become a recognised media machine whilst Margaret continued to produce work for her husband to sign, in arguable secret and distress. The whistle was finally blown in 1970 after Margaret Keane went on public radio to claim her creative rights, with a high profile court case between the now estranged couple eventually unfolding in the mid 80’s.
Big Eyes tells the story of Walter and Margaret, from their first meeting (both as painters and divorcees), through to their subsequent marriage, fraud, success, and courtroom finale.
Big Eyes is the first collaboration between Tim Burton and scriptwriters Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski since their initial project together, Ed Wood (1994).
Originally casting Kate Hudson and Thomas Haden Church in the lead roles, the initially Alexander and Karaszewski directed project was stop/started from 2008, until Burton joined the production team in 2010 – later becoming the film’s director in 2012.
Tim Burton first met Margaret Keane in the 1990’s, when he commissioned the artist to paint a portrait of his partner at the time.
Walter Keane died in 2000. His daughter from his first marriage, Susan Keane, still defends her father’s claims and condemns the Big Eyes as “myths perpetuated by the media.” Despite several requests, and a court room invitation to paint an original for a jury, Walter Keane never produced an original ‘big eyed’ portrait outside of his marriage to Margaret.
Watch the official Big Eyes trailer – click here or below:
Big Eyes runs at mac Cinema from 9th to 15th January. For further info and tickets, visit http://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/big-eyes/
For more on Big Eyes, visit http://bigeyesfilm.com/
For more from mac Birmingham, visit http://macbirmingham.co.uk/