There are, I imagine, a very small number of scenarios in which it’s reasonable to place Tim Burton “above” Paul Thomas Anderson — save for a bottom-to-top ranking, uses of gothic imagery / Helena Bonham Carter — so forgive us if priorities seem imbalanced. Such is the effect of Terence Stamp, who Deadline tell us is entering the cast of Big Eyes, a semi-biographical drama that, from this writer’s perspective, is shaping up to be the director’s best picture in any number of years.

Penned by his Ed Wood scribes Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, it stars Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams as Walter and Margaret Keane, respectively, a husband-and-wife duo who attained widespread attention for a series of paintings in the ’50s and ’60s, but were ensconced in bad publicity when Walter appeared on a national stage and claimed involvement in art that beared none of his own work. We can wonder, then, how Stamp will affect dynamics in playing John Canaday, The New York Times‘ “elitist and exasperated senior art critic”; the intimidating, cantankerous demeanor is something Burton still seems capable of milking for comedic effect. (See: Alan Rickman in the otherwise dreadful Sweeney Todd.)

Needless to say, Big Eyes is falling together beautifully with its actors: the supporting players include — though, at this time, are not limited to — Jason Schwartzman, Danny Huston, and Krysten Ritter. With its casting process moving along at a quick clip, Burton should be rolling cameras soon.

Now, to Anderson. According to Deadline, his currently shooting Inherent Vice has filled out a big supporting role by nabbing Peter McRobbie, a performer recently seen in Lincoln and Law & Order: SVU. (I’m among five people who remember him as Mr. Mueller / Josef Mengele from the pilot episode of Stella.) With his signing, the Thomas Pynchon adaptation has found its Adrian Prussia, “a powerful loan shark known to get violent when not compensated properly” and the role we had been told Sean Penn was eyeing. While it’s hoped that a switch isn’t in the cards, McRobbie is a reliable character actor — something the star-studded Vice might benefit from more of.

The loaded cast of Inherent Vice is led by Joaquin Phoenix, filled out by Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Jeannie Berlin.

Would you say Stamp makes for an interesting change to Burton’s project? How would you feel about McRobbie stepping in for Penn?

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