CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

How to Make an Artist Biopic That’s Not Pretentious or Boring

The Writer-Producers of Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’ Say You’ve Got to Start with the Right Subject: Someone Who’s Not Universally Considered to Be Great

What makes a piece of art great? Which artists’ stories are worth telling? And why are biopics about the great artists generally pretentious and boring? After a screening of their new movie Big Eyes, writer-producers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski discussed these questions at a Zócalo/Getty “Open Art” event at the Landmark Theatre. The Tim Burton-directed Big Eyes tells the story of Margaret Keane (played by Amy Adams), an artist whose surreal paintings of doe-eyed young girls became a sensation in the early 1960s. Keane, however, wasn’t credited with the work for many years: Her husband, Walter (played by Christoph Waltz), marketed himself as the painter. Although the story of Keane’s fight to be recognized as the artist is dramatic, she’s not obvious biopic material. Like the low-budget genre film director Edward D. Wood, Jr.—the subject of an earlier Burton-Karaszewski-Alexander …