At Monday night’s premiere of “Big Eyes” on Monday at Gotham’s MoMa, Harvey Weinstein applauded screenwriters and producers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski for their persistence in bringing a difficult true story to the big screen, which took 11 long years.
“I loved the script,” said Weinstein. “I love Scott and Larry, but this was a tough movie to finance. It’s a very esoteric subject matter. But the opportunity to work with [director Tim] Burton, it’s a once in a lifetime experience for me.”
“Big Eyes,” a quirky story of the bizarre relationship and battle between artist Margaret Keane (who was on hand) and her husband Walter Keane over the famous pop-eyed waif paintings which became a worldwide sensation in the 1960s.
The screenwriting duo struggled for more than a decade in their efforts to get “Big Eyes” made. But they refused to give up.
“We always had interesting people interested in the project,” Alexander explained. “We also always owned it, so we were able to pick it up from the ashes and move it forward. Some people thought we were delusional because we sort of stopped having a career. Our career became prepping ‘Big Eyes,’ but we were encouraged because there was always some actor somewhere who thought it was the best script they had read.”
Karaszewski added that he and Alexander took all the praise seriously–maybe too seriously.
“That kind of encouragement fed the delusion,” Karaszewski said. “When you are in this business, you are always talking about getting the studio pregnant because when you get them a little pregnant then they are going to have to make the movie. But we realized we were just getting ourselves pregnant, because we kept prepping this movie and we kept paying for everything out of our own pockets, but there wasn’t any film.”
In 2012 Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Reynolds were attached to star, but Witherspoon’s third pregnancy killed the project.
“We were pretty despondent after that [development],” Karaszewski said. “But everything happens for a reason.”
Ultimately, Amy Adams signed on to play Margaret, and Christoph Waltz, Walter. Both were also at the premiere.
The movie, being released by the Weinstein Co., is debuting Dec. 25, the same day that Sony Pictures is opening “The Interview.”
Lips were sealed when it came to the Sony cyber-attack at the “Big Eyes” premiere. Weinstein, who was among executives to receive an apologetic call from Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal earlier in the day, declined to comment on the matter.
A rep for “Big Eyes” actor Jason Schwartzman also declined comment.
Alexander and Karaszewski weren’t so guarded about discussing the devastating cyber-attack.
“What hacking scandal?” Alexander deadpanned, upon being asked. “Just because our film is opening the same day as ‘The Interview’ doesn’t mean that we did it. You can’t prove it!”
“Well, we worked on ‘Goosebumps,’ and that’s a Sony movie,” Karaszewski interjected. “So maybe we are being watched?”
(Pictured: Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter, Harvey Weinstein, Amy Adams, Tim Burton, Christoph Waltz at the premiere of “Big Eyes”)