Michael Keaton will forever be associated with superhero movies. He skewered the genre in Oscar-winner ‘Birdman’ and will play a villain in this summer’s ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ but he will always be best known for playing Batman.
He donned the cap and cowl in ‘Batman’ and ‘Batman Returns’, the two Caped Crusader adventures directed by Tim Burton. As ‘Batman Forever’ neared production however he departed the series, leaving Val Kilmer to inherit the iconic part.
Keaton has now revealed that he hung up his utility belt after reading the script for the 1995 sequel, written by Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler and Akiva Goldsman.
“It sucked. The script never was good. I couldn’t understand why he wanted to do what he wanted to do,” the 65-year-old told Cinema Blend. “I knew it was in trouble when [director Joel Schumacher] said, ‘Why does everything have to be so dark?'”
Warner Bros reportedly offered him a deal worth around $15 million to stay on, but he refused.
Of course, being dark has always been successful for Batman on the big screen. Burton’s films are still reverred today and it was thanks to the brighter tone of the next two (‘Forever’ and ‘Batman & Robin’) that the world got Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
Keaton didn’t really look back until Alejandro Iñárritu’s ‘Birdman’, in which he played an actor best known for playing the titular, fictional superhero, who was looking to prove his artistic worth to a world unable to get over his best-known role.
Perhaps ‘Birdman’ proved cathartic for Keaton, who is set to return to the superhero genre this summer in the latest ‘Spider-Man’ adventure – in which he’ll play Adrian Toomes. Ironically, or maybe poetically, Toomes is man with a bird-like suit that gives him the name Vulture.
He’ll battle Tom Holland’s Spidey when ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is released on 7 July.