Big Eyes reunites Burton with screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who wrote Ed Wood on spec. Both films deal with subjects from the same era that have become cult figures of kitsch.
Both writers began development for Big Eyes around 2003, when they first met Margaret Keane and convinced her to give them authorization to make the film. (Unlike past their past biopics, permission was necessary in order to utilize Keane’s artwork.) They originally planned to direct the film themselves, but every attempt to start production was met with an insurmountable obstacle. Financing often fell through, especially after the financial collapse of 2008, and Reese Witherspoon had to drop out of the project after becoming pregnant.
After a decade of preparation, which they supported out of their own pockets, they finally approach Tim Burton to direct the film, after he expressed interest in producing. Like Ed Wood, it would become a period piece produced on a very low budget, and just as Burton filmed Alexander and Karaszewski’s draft of Ed Wood virtually in its entirety, he would do the same for Big Eyes.