Sales of Margaret Keane paintings soared ahead of the release of the film. Small paintings sold for $8,500 a piece. Director Tim Burton owns an extensive collection of her work. In the 1990s, Burton commissioned Keane to paint a portrait of his then-girlfriend Lisa Marie. Keane has also painted portraits of Burton's partner Helena Bonham Carter, and Burton's late Chihuahua.
Amy Adams liked the script when it was offered to her, but she originally turned down the role of Margaret because the character lacked "a stronger sense of self". Working on American Hustle (2013) gave Adams a new perspective of the character, and the character's "quiet dignity" won her over. The relationship between the mother and the daughter spoke to her as well.
This is the first feature film directed by Tim Burton to not feature actors with whom he had previously worked. While Batman (1989) was the first Burton film to feature a recurring actor in a major role, his early films featured recurring actors in minor parts. The film is also Burton's second biopic, his first film since Edward Scissorhands (1990) not to be edited by Chris Lebenzon, and first live-action film since Sleepy Hollow (1999) not to be produced by Richard D. Zanuck, who died in 2012.
Amy Adams's Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Comedy or Musical for this film was her second consecutive Golden Globe in that category. Her first win was for American Hustle (2013).
For research, Amy Adams consulted with the real-life Margaret Keane who was in her late 80s. According to Adams, Keane was overwhelmed by the notion that anybody would want to make a film about her life.
Lana Del Rey recorded two songs for the soundtrack, making it her first collaboration with Tim Burton. In her song "Gods and Monsters," she sings "Life imitates art." Walter Keane says "Life imitating art..." Earlier in the year she did a recording for Maleficent (2014), which originally was set to be directed by Burton.
The establishing shot of the courthouse shows the famous gold-leaf statue of Kamehameha the Great, the first monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai'i. The building behind the statue is Ali'iolani Hale ("House of the Heavenly King"), home of the Hawaii Supreme Court.
The UNICEF painting that Keane painted for the '64 Worlds Fair, titled Tomorrow Forever, was never actually mounted in the Hall of Education. Robert Moses, who had control over everything that was included in the fair, hated it. Once the NY Times critic Canady trashed it (after seeing a photograph of the artwork) Moses had it thrown into the garbage. For Reference: boweryboyshistory.com/2014/11/robert-moses-rejected-this-terrifying.html
The Keanes' house strongly resembles the work of Joseph Eichler, one of America's most influential architects and social visionaries. He helped establish the California Modern style from the 1950s to the mid-1960s by bringing high-end design concepts to the mass market. Signature features of "Eichler Homes" include glass walls, post-and-beam construction, A-frame roofs, and open floor plans.
Early in the film, Walter tells Margaret she's living in "fairyland". Across the Bay, in Oakland, is Children's FairyLand, a fairy themed amusement park. The park opened in 1950 and was actually an inspiration for Walt Disney's Disneyland.
The hungry i was one of San Francisco's most influential nightclubs in the 1950s. Originally located at 599 Jackson Street, the owner closed it in the mid 1960s due to declining revenue. A topless club on Broadway bought the rights to the name.
Margaret Keane was featured in a short article, "The Lady Behind Those Keane-eyed Kids", in the November 20,1970 issue of LIFE magazine, pages 57 and 58. The article includes five black and white pictures, with multiple pictures of Margaret, one of Walter Keane, and one of her third husband, Dan McGuire.
Just as Margaret recognizes when she discovers that even his Paris paintings are fake, the audience never actually sees Walter paint. The most they see is him adding one or two brush strokes to one of Margaret's own works.
Both Amy Adams and Terence Stamp have starred in Superman universe; Adams in Man of Steel (2013) and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), whilst Stamp appeared in Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), and both also appears in Smallville (2001).