Amy Adams paints freakish, sad eyes in new Burton flick Big Eyes

Aug 4, 2014 at 9:06 p.m. ET
Image: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

Amy Adams joins Tim Burton, the master of strange, odd and dark movies, as he takes on the real-life story of Margaret and Walter Keane in the upcoming film, Big Eyes. Never heard of the Keanes? They are the artists responsible for the weird paintings of folks with giant, sad peepers from the 1950s and 1960s.

Visual artists Margaret (Amy Adams) and Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) were a real married couple who took the pop art world by storm when Walter's paintings of waif-like children with enormous ocular orbs became popular. The only problem was that Walter didn't paint them — his wife, Margaret, did.

Amy Adams give up her first-class seat for American hero >>

Amy Adams recently told USA Today that, "Margaret really believed that as a woman, people would not buy her art." Adams also said that Walter convinced Margaret that her paintings would sell at a higher price if they were signed with a man's signature.

Could Walter Keane's worries have been accurate? Possibly. Frankenstein's female author, Mary Shelley, published her original story about a grotesque monster anonymously in 1818, due to fears that the literary community wouldn't take the first piece of science fiction seriously if it was created by a woman.

No Kristen Stewart in testosterone-fueled Snow White Sequel >>

Regardless, the lie eventually broke up the Keanes' marriage. Even after the divorce, Walter insisted the works of art were painted by his hand until there was a paint-off in a federal court.

When both Walter and Margaret were asked to paint one of the big-eyed characters, Margaret executed the painting quickly while Walter complained of a sore shoulder. Margaret was awarded a $4 million settlement.

Adams also said, "This all seems so theatrical, like something you would design for a film. But that actually happened. Living the lie was something that weighed heavy on Margaret. But she won her name back."

Though Walter Keane died in 2000, Margaret is still alive, living in San Francisco. At age 87, the real Margaret happily met with Adams to help her master her brush strokes while recreating her creepy paintings on film.

Big Eyes also stars Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman and Danny Huston and will be released in theaters Dec. 25.