They're not all this creepy. They became filled with sunshine and happiness once she moved to Hawaii and became a Jehova's Witness (seriously).

Margaret Keane’s paintings typically consist of cats or children posed with their enlarged eyes facing the viewer, and from the 60s on they became recognizable cultural icons made fun of in Woody Allen movies and inspiring Saturday morning cartoon characters*. Beyond the kitschy cache of the actual work though, there is an interesting story behind Keane’s work that Tim Burton and frequent biopic writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (People Vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon) hope to tell. It centers around the early period of fame for the paintings, when they were still being sold under Margaret’s husband’s name.

For whatever reason it was Walter Keane who took credit for the paintings through the 60s, and it was only after the two divorced and Margaret painted a picture in front of a federal judge that she reclaimed her reputation. Apparently Walter Keane was a right dubious charmer, which will provide an interesting role for the recently cast Ryan Reynolds. He’ll be starring opposite Reese Witherspoon, who will of course play Margaret in the film set to be only produced by Burton, while the two writers will direct the film as their first feature since the comedy Screwed.

The story is an odd one, but the painter has a bizarre popularity that’s maintained itself throughout the 85-year-old’s life. Burton, as you might imagine, credits Keane with partly inspiring his own work, thus his interest in this project from his Ed Wood screenwriters.

It is certainly a curious story, and I’m eager to see Reynolds’ talent exploited for shit that’s more interesting than Safe House, so good on him for getting involved. This is also a chance for Witherfork’s bland sweetness to be morphed into something fascinating, so there’s that too.

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*That’d be Sleeper and The Powerpuff Girls respectively.

Source | THR (via /Film)