Next month will be an important one for Ryan Reynolds and Reese Witherspoon. The former is bruised after a pair of summer flops last year, “Green Lantern” and “The Change-Up,” and will be hoping to cement his A-list status opposite Denzel Washington in “Safe House,” while the latter hasn’t had an unqualified hit since “Four Christmases” in 2008, and is hoping to turn that around by starring opposite Tom Hardy and Chris Pine in McG‘s “This Means War.” But while they wait for their blockbuster drawing power to be tested, the pair are planning to team up for the first time for a project with more serious intent.
Deadline report that Reynolds and Witherspoon have signed on to the long-gestating indie “Big Eyes,” a true life tale from Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the screenwriting team behind “Ed Wood,” “The People Vs. Larry Flynt” and “Man On The Moon,” among others. The film will tell the story of married couple Walter and Margaret Keane, who became art world phenomenons in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to their paintings of large-eyed children. However, when they split up, a legal battle ensued, with Walter trying to take credit for paintings which were actually done by his wife.
The film has been in the works for at least half a decade, with Alexander and Karaszewski hoping to make it thier second directorial effort (they debuted with the mostly forgotten Norm MacDonald vehicle “Screwed“), and Reynolds and Witherspoon aren’t the first actors to be involved — Thomas Haden Church and Kate Hudson were previously attached to the lead roles. One thing that hasn’t changed is the big name producer the pair have on board, Tim Burton, who helmed their “Ed Wood” script (and for whom they’re writing a new version of “The Addams Family“), signed on to produce the project in 2010, and is still involved, along with Lynette Howell and Jamie Patricof, who were behind “Blue Valentine.”
The writer/directors said in a statement that, “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. 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.” It certainly seems like potent material, and firmly within the quirky biopic wheelhouse that they made their names on, and we’re curious to see Reynolds and Witherspoon stretch themselves a little more than they’ve had to in recent years. All being well, filming will get underway in the spring.