One of filmmaker Tim Burton’s strongest efforts of the past 30 years is, ironically, “Ed Wood,” a biopic charting the life of the famed director of 1959’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” a work widely regarded as the worst film of all time. It’s great then to see that Burton is reuniting with the writing team behind the 1994 release.
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski will join Burton in developing a script for the planned stop-motion adaptation of Charles Addams’ famed comic strip, “The Addams Family,” Deadline reports. Burton will also produce with Chris Meledandri for Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures.
The same article reveals that Burton will also produce the writing duo’s fact-based drama “Big Eyes,” which is “based on artist Margaret Keane’s struggle to get credit for the line of paintings of big-eyed children that became wildly popular in the ’60s.” Alexander and Karaszewski wrote the script with the intent of directing themselves.
The “Addams Family” news comes several months after reports surfaced that Burton would direct a 3-D stop-motion adaptation of the famed comic strip. In a statement made to MTV News at the time, Burton’s reps stated, “There is no truth to the story. Tim has not lined up any of his upcoming projects.”
It was clear even then that Burton could settle on “Addams Family” next. He still could direct, too. Deadline reports that he will “direct a film that is one of the plum projects on Meledandri’s slate for Illumination,” which of course now includes “Addams Family.”
“Big Eyes” came up while Burton was in discussions with Alexander and Karaszewski about the comic strip adaptation. “It turns out he’s a big fan of Margaret and has commissioned artwork from her,” Alexander told Deadline. It doesn’t hurt that the actual story is a remarkable truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale.
Walter Keane, Margaret’s husband, became a celebrity in the 1950s, riding a wave of success from his mass-produced prints of big-eyed children. Though the images bore his signature, Margaret was the one with an aptitude for making art. When the two eventually divorced and Margaret tried to make it known that she was the artist, Walter sued. The case that followed culminated in a dramatic showdown in which the judge ordered that two easels be set up in the courtroom, staging what essentially amounted to a paint-off.
No release window is listed for either project, though IMDb’s listing for “Big Eyes” is labeled 2011. With the script already written, a budget that is reportedly “in the teens” and Burton producing, it is certainly possible that the Keane pic will be ready for next year.
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