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 …