Witherspoon and Reynolds will play Margaret and Walter Keane, whose paintings of large eyed children became one of the first mass marketed art sensations in the 50s and 60s, with prints sold in gas stations and every five and dime store. While Walter was the marketing genius, he also took the bows for doing the brush work, and was a regular on the TV talk show circuit, his shy wife was the actual artist in the family. When they split and she tried to get her due, they ended up in court, where a judge finally provided them with two easels and ordered them to prove it. Walter’s art reputation went down on the canvas.
Alexander and Karaszewski have been trying to make this film for years; the leads are such rich parts that numerous stars have been attached. Their Ed Wood director, Tim Burton, will produce along with Lynette Howell and Jamie Patricof. The latter duo resurrected the project with their new company, Electric City Entertainment.
“We are ecstatic to have this dream cast for our dream project. Walter is a larger-than-life antihero — charming, funny, dangerous, and a little crazy, said Alexander and Karaszewski in a statement. “Ryan will knock it out of the park. As for Reese, she will be perfect as Margaret — soulful, decent, transforming from vulnerability to learning to fight for herself.”
Principal photography is scheduled for the Spring. Witherspoon opens in the Fox comedy This Means War, while Reynolds stars with Denzel Washington in the Universal drama Safe House.
Alexander and Karaszewski are represented by UTA, Reynolds by CAA, and Witherspoon by CAA and Management 360. Burton is represented by WME.