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Michael Keaton Breaks Silence After 35 Years On Tim Burton’s Controversial Casting Choice

Three and a half decades post his initial portrayal, Michael Keaton unveils the narrative behind Tim Burton's controversial decision to cast him as Batman
Three and a half decades post his initial portrayal, Michael Keaton unveils the narrative behind Tim Burton’s controversial decision to cast him as Batman ( Photo Credit – IMDb )

In a recent chat with GQ, Michael Keaton looked back on landing the role of Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton’s Batman flick, recognizing the initial uproar over his casting. Back in the late ’80s, fans weren’t sold on Keaton’s ability to pull off the iconic superhero, worried that his comedic background wouldn’t mesh with the dark character. Yet, Keaton has since earned acclaim as one of the top actors to don the Batman cape, proving Burton’s unconventional choice right. Keaton gave props to Burton for his gutsy call and shared some thoughts on his time filming the inaugural Batman film.

When the concept of playing Batman was brought up to him, Michael Keaton reacted with astonishment, remarking, “Hold on, you’re planning to make a movie about Batman?” Keaton confessed to having reservations initially regarding the film’s chances for success, given the immense popularity of the Superman movie. He recognized the brilliance of Richard Donner’s Superman film, commending Christopher Reeve‘s portrayal and the comedic elements it included.

Keaton commented Tim Burton’s decision to cast him for the role was a daring move. Their successful collaboration on Beetlejuice instilled confidence in Keaton, who believed Burton trusted their ability to work together effectively on this project, too.

We saw the result, growing to love Keaton’s portrayal so much that he returned for the 1992 sequel Batman Returns.

Michael Keaton’s future as Batman

Michael Keaton returned as Batman in the 2023 film The Flash, revisiting the character after three decades to aid Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen in rectifying a time-travel mishap. Moreover, Keaton was set for a cameo in Batgirl, but the film was put on hold by Warner Bros. Discovery.

At the 96th Academy Awards last night, Keaton indulged in his Batman persona while presenters Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger reminisced about their supervillain roles in Batman movies. Keaton, renowned for his portrayal of Batman, joined the playful exchange. DeVito, acclaimed for his depiction of The Penguin in Batman Returns, and Schwarzenegger, famous for his role as Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin, humorously expressed their disdain for Batman, with DeVito teasingly acknowledging Keaton’s presence in the audience. The camera then captured Keaton, sporting a smirk, motioning for the two actors to continue their banter.

Prior to Warner Bros.‘ shift to rejuvenate its DC Extended Universe led by James Gunn, there were deliberations aimed at resurrecting Michael Keaton’s involvement in a live-action Batman Beyond film. Reports hinted at Keaton reprising his role as the Caped Crusader in this defunct adaptation, a project under the stewardship of The Flash screenwriter Christina Hodson. While specific narrative details remain undisclosed, the film aimed to explore Keaton’s Bruce Wayne, rekindling his connection with Selina Kyle/Catwoman. However, with the ascendancy of James Gunn and Peter Safran as overseers of DC Studios in November 2022, they opted to table Keaton’s Batman Beyond endeavour to prioritize their 10-year strategy for a unified DC Universe, which will introduce a fresh, younger actor as the Dark Knight.

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