Tim Burton on Depicting Misguided Passion with a Small-Budget for ‘Big Eyes’

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Tim Burton is taking a big step back from his recent big studio films for Big Eyes, a small-budget film that brings to mind Ed Wood over Alice in Wonderland. In fact, he brought back Ed Wood screenwriters Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander too for his film based on the true story of artist Margaret Keane and husband Walter who took credit for her unusual paintings.

“The thing about Scott and Larry, and they've written lots of things, but their forte is that they're great at finding these truth-is-stranger-than-fiction kind of people,” Burton tells Indiewire. “And also, not dissimilar from Ed Wood, this question of: what's good and what's bad? And just the artistic process of whatever you're doing, a film or a painting; Ed Wood thought Plan 9 was probably Star Wars and the Keanes thought they were making the Mona Lisa. I understand that passion. I wouldn't call it misguided but it's just what happens when you put your heart and soul into things; I've had this happen as well, because that's why I was drawn to this – critics hate it, people love it, critics love it, people hate it.”

Burton also claims that the experience of his foray into a low-budget film helped invigorate him creatively. “Definitely. Honestly, it was a real pressure. It gets the blood flowing – trying to make Vancouver look like San Francisco and asking, ‘How much is this cup costing? Can we do this? Can we afford that?’” he says. “You’ve probably visited these big sets. It just looks like a wax museum. Are people moving? Is something happening here? So to get that energy back was something very special. And it will help me even when I do a studio movie, just to keep that spirit in line and maintain that.”

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