You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alexander, Karaszewski think ‘Big’

'1408' team to write, direct painter drama

Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski will direct “Big Eyes,” a drama they wrote.

Pic explores the relationship between painter Margaret Keane and her husband, Walter, who took credit for her work. He lived the high life while she toiled in relative anonymity in the Bay Area.

Andrew Meieran will fully finance an under-$20 million budget through his Bureau of Moving Pictures banner. Production begins early next year.

Bonafide partners Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (“Little Miss Sunshine”) will produce with Meieran and Dan Halsted.

While Alexander and Karaszewski are coming off the horror hit “1408,” the Keane saga brings them back to the milieu of their fact-based scripts “Ed Wood,” “Man on the Moon” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt.”

Walter Keane made his mark in the late 1950s with stylistic paintings of big-eyed children, mass producing prints sold cheaply in hardware stores and gas stations. While huge sales made him a regular “Tonight Show” guest, there was one problem.

“He couldn’t paint a lick,” said Karaszewski. “He was a genius businessman who desperately wanted to be an artist, and who married an artist with a self-image problem and took full advantage. He kept her in the basement and signed his name to her work.”

The ruse broke up the marriage. After Margaret became a Jehovah’s Witness and embraced that faith’s prohibition against lying, she finally blew the whistle on her ex.

“Her rebellion coincided with the feminist movement, and when he began calling her his crazy ex-wife, she sued him,” Alexander said.

The 1965 court case climaxed when the judge put up two easels and challenged plaintiff and defendant to get up and paint. Margaret did, but Walter brushed off the challenge, blaming a shoulder injury.

The writer-directors made their own life rights deal with Margaret, and their Endeavor reps brokered a spec package to financier Meieran, who develops real estate and nightclubs in downtown L.A. and will make “Big Eyes” his first fully financed production.

“We’ve looked through hundreds of scripts, but this felt like just the right project to launch a brand,” said Meieran.

More Film

  • Bertrand Tavernier Hosts Night of Cinema

    Bertrand Tavernier Hosts Night of Cinema Inspired Orchestra in Paris

    Flanked by UniFrance president Serge Toubiana and the National Orchestra of France, filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier stood before a rapt crowd at Paris’ Maison de la Radio this past Saturday to introduce an evening dedicated to French film scores called “May the Music Begin!” That moniker – a reference to the original French title of his [...]

  • Orange Studio Sells Out 'Serial (Bad)

    Orange Studio Sells Out 'Serial (Bad) Weddings 2,' 'City Hunter' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paris-based Orange Studio has nearly sold out its two French comedy highlights, Philippe de Chauveron’s “Serial (Bad) Weddings 2” and Philippe Lacheau’s “City Hunter.” “Serial (Bad) Weddings 2,” which opened the UniFrance Rendez-Vous in Paris last week, is the sequel of the smash hit film which grossed over $148 million worldwide. The movie has been [...]

  • Danmarks Sønner, en film af Ulaa

    Trailer for Rotterdam Competition Opener 'Sons of Denmark' Released (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the trailer for the opening film of Rotterdam Film Festival’s Tiger Competition, “Sons of Denmark.” The film is a political thriller set in Denmark in 2025, a year after a bomb attack in Copenhagen, when ethnic tensions are running high. An ultra-nationalist politician, Martin Nordahl, and his National [...]

  • Operation Red Sea review

    Chinese Entertainment Industry Braces for a 'Cold Winter' in 2019

    Winter is here for the Chinese entertainment industry, a half-dozen top-tier industry professionals concurred in Beijing at the launch last week of Tencent Entertainment’s annual data-filled white paper. China’s box office hit new heights in 2018, raking in about $9 billion, but it was also a year of drastic regulatory changes and a government tax [...]

  • Indie Sales Acquires Martin Lund's Nordic

    Indie Sales Acquires Nordic Coming-Of-Age 'Psychobitch' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paris-based company Indie Sales has acquired Martin Lund’s Norwegian coming-of-age drama “Psychobitch” which is headlined by Elli Rhiannon Müller Osbourne (“Utoya: July 22”). “Psychobitch” marks the first feature film of Martin Lund, who made his debut with “Twigson Ties the Knot,” a local box office hit, and followed up with “The Almost Man,” which won [...]

  • Studiocanal has sold Jean Paul Gaultier's

    Jean Paul Gaultier's 'Freak And Chic' Documentary Sells For Studiocanal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Underscoring the strength and scope of French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s legacy around the world, the documentary “Jean Paul Gaultier Freak And Chic,” which chronicles the making of Gaultier’s ongoing popular show in Paris, has been luring distributors in key markets. Sold by Studiocanal and produced by Capa, the documentary has already been picked [...]

  • Korea Box Office: 'MAL·MO·E' and 'Inside

    Korea Box Office: 'MAL·MO·E' and 'Inside Me' Remain on Top

    There was no change at the top of the Korean box office, as local titles “MAL·MO·E: The Secret Mission” and “Inside Me (a.k.a. The Dude in Me)” dominated a second weekend. Lotte’s “MAL·MO·E” earned $4.79 million from 618,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday for a total of $16.7 million from 2.23 million admissions after two [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content