Christoph Waltz savors working with ‘Big’ directors

“I’m proud to say that I’m profoundly different from the characters I play,” Waltz says.

“It’s one of the great drawbacks of the system we live in that success justifies everything,” Christoph Waltz explains to bolster the actions of Walter Keane, the character he plays in Tim Burton’s new movie “Big Eyes,” now in theaters

It’s an odd thing to hear from an actor who has won two Oscars over the past 10 years, both for roles in Quentin Tarantino movies, but it’s one way he justifies Keane taking credit for his wife Margaret’s popular paintings in a film that explores their relationship.

Although Margaret, played by Amy Adams, painted the big-eyed waifs that became a popular art trend during the ’60s, Walter was hailed for the paintings until she finally revealed the truth.

Waltz jumped at the chance at working with Burton, especially with the added bonus of having Adams as his wife.

“I’ve always wanted to work with Amy and I never dared. In that combination, it fulfilled every wish. Almost,” he says with a mischievous glint in his eye. “Not every.”

Besides working with Adams, Waltz’s career has allowed him the opportunity to with work with some big name directors, including Burton, Tarantino and Terry Gilliam, who he worked with on “The Zero Theorem.”

“I’m happy to say that one of the additional advantages and perks — and miracles in a way — is that I can attract someone that is not a first-time director anymore,” he says. “I would never have believed anyone who would have predicted that 10 years ago.”

One thing you learn about his movies when talking to Waltz is his reluctance to use the term “villain” in describing his roles, although he will make an exception while playing Franz Oberhauser in the 24th James Bond movie, “Spectre,” out next year.

“The only time I tolerate the word ‘villain’ is after the dash and the word ‘Bond’ ? ‘Bond-villain’!” he proclaims. “That is a valid description.”

While he’s played some bad guys on screen, Waltz says he’s nothing like those characters.

“I’m proud to say that I’m profoundly different from the characters I play,” he says. “Imagine living with someone like that — you want to kill them after three weeks.”

EDWARD DOUGLAS. Special to amNewYork