Tim Burton is a bit like the character he creates in his movies—whimsical, highly animated, and quite appealing in a quirky kind of way and larger- than- life.
His latest movie ‘Big Eyes’, opens on February 25, across the Philippines!
In Manhattan, Burton’s hair and beard were a bit scraggly, and he spoke with his hands waving in the air. It is clear: he is passionate about three aspects of his life: his films, his art and his family.
Among his unique movies, most with a strong cult following, are, Batman, Batman Returns, Mars Attacks, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Big Fish and Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Burton has creatively directed from his vivid imagination numerous darkly-themed children’s movies, including: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Frankenweenie, and Alice in Wonderland.
Big Eyes, from The Weinstein Company, is the biographical drama film directed by Tim Burton.
The film focuses on Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), an artist known in the 1950s and 60s for his kitsch paintings of large-eyed waifs and his then-wife Margaret Keane, (Amy Adams).
The film tells the outrageous true story of their heated divorce battle wherein Margaret accused her husband, Walter, of stealing her paintings. The bazaar and shocking truth would later be discovered: Walter did not create any of the art work, but instead his wife did, and the Keane’s had been living a colossal lie that had fooled the entire world.
The movie is too incredible to be fiction, and focuses on Margaret’s awakening as an artist, the success of her paintings and her tumultuous relationship with her husband , who was catapulted to international fame while taking credit for her work.
Then what happened?
It got so lambasted. And at the same time …it had a high attendance rate! So I’ve experienced that kind of thing, of like good and bad. Because when you do something, you’re very passionate about it. Whether it’s Ed Wood or the Keane’s , you know, there’s just such enthusiasm. And they thought they were making probably like..Michelangelo! As Ed Wood thought he was making Star Wars. You know, when he was making Plan 9 From Outer Space! So you understand that kind of misguided enthusiasm. And then you sort of understanding the polarization of people’s response to things.
Why do you think the Keane art was not embraced by the psychedelic world by then?
But it was very druggie! You know, big eyes, large pupils. I mean, It’s somehow weirdly fit into that scene! And I always admired Margaret’s high-waisted look!
Why do you think that this film isn’t as dark as your other movie?
For me. you have the time, the era, and you have the paintings. Which suggest something, strange color schemes that are those paintings; part of the vibe of it. And then, just the story. I mean, the relationship between Margaret and Walter and the other characters, in my own mind, it started to feel like a weird sixties, kind of slightly Hitchcock.
Please elaborate—what do you mean by this?
Well, I found myself strangely drawn. I mean; the color scheme just fit the era and the paintings, and the kind of psychological relationship, and feel of the movie. So you know whether it’s black or white or color, you try to support that. And make it a character, in a way.
So just all of those elements made it…what it turned out to be!
The movie is in large part struggle between abstract and popular art, Where do you stand in that struggle personally?
Again, it’s a fascinating thing about people’s perception of art. And you see it today. Either it speaks to you, or it doesn’t. And I think the reason the story really sort of flew under the radar, is that most critics, most people, didn’t really consider it art. So it didn’t hit the major headlines.
Please, tell me more?
You know; it was sort of on the back pages. Whatever. But like I said. I myself have experienced from the very beginning of my career, people loving and hating me. And also, people would say about my movies, ‘Oh it’s so much lighter.’ And at the same time, it’s so much darker. So I found that a sort of juxtaposition. How could something be light, and then other people see it as completely dark. So people’s perceptions of things fascinate me, you know?
Is that how you see the film Big Eyes?
Yes, in that way I think this is perfect story , and an example of that sort of question. And it’s kind of an unanswerable question! It’s just sort of a presentation of that dynamic. But I loved it, because I also hated it! You know what I mean ? There’s something about it like, why would grown people have…images of children hanging in their living room!
It seems like people do that.
I do too!
If you put yourself in Walter Keane’s shoes for minute, what do you think was going on inside his crazy head?
In his version, he was Henry Higgins! She was ElizaDoolittle, and, it was a failed experiment!
“BIG EYES” is released and distributed by CAPTIVE CINEMA!