The around-the-corner 2014 AFI Festival is a cavalcade of awards contenders… with limited space. The films AFI selects are among the best of the best. But not everything fits. Not everything wants to fit. Example: As if to divert attention with its own, non-festival fanfare, The Weinstein Company”s “Big Eyes” will premiere at Los Angeles County Museum of Art “Film Independent” screening on on Thursday, Nov. 13 – the final night of AFI Fest.
“Oh, it”s on,” says an imaginary awards season hype man.
Tim Burton”s return to movies that don”t feature Johnny Depp wearing silly hats (we assume?), “Big Eyes” recounts the true story of Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), one of the most successful painters of the 1950s and early 1960s. The artist”s primary subject – waifs with big eyes – captured cultural attention. It was later discovered that Keane”s art was the work of his wife, Margaret (Amy Adams). Burton”s biopic follows Margaret as she hones her artistic talents, battles an egomaniac husband, and deals with fame and fortune, all attributed to a false creator. “Ed Wood” screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski penned the script for “Big Eyes,” which costars Jason Schwartzman, Krysten Ritter, Terrence Stamp, and Danny Huston. The Film Independent at LACMA event is a members only screening, but one should expect plenty of reactions to trickle out from inside.
Word of the screening comes just as AFI prepares to launch its fully loaded slate. Festivities kick off Nov. 6 with the world premiere of J.C. Chandor”s “A Most Violent Year.” Additional screenings throughout the week include the world premiere of Rupert Wyatt”s “The Gambler,” “Inherent Vice,” “Still Alice,” “The Homesman,” “Clouds of Sils Maria,” “Mommy,” “Mr. Turner,” “Saint Laurent,” “Two Days, One Night,” and the documentaries “Merchants of Doubt” and “Tales of the Grim Sleeper.” The festival will close with Bennett Miller”s “Foxcatcher,” previously slotted into the AFI Fest line-up one year ago, before Sony Classics bumped the film into the 2014 mix.
What will draw the most viewers, Amy Adams and “Big Eyes” or Steve Carrell and his big prosthetic nose?