Michael Keaton has played a lot of winged superhero-adjacent characters throughout his career, such as Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming and washed-up former movie star Riggan Thomson in Birdman, a self-parodying film.
Bruce Wayne has been playing the role of Batman since 1989, when Tim Burton debuted his Dark Knight movies.
Keaton’s departure from the franchise after Batman Forever was a long and arduous process, but it eventually led to his iconic role being recast. After that, however, the Batman film series continued on without him in the 1990s, which raises an intriguing question: what prompted Keaton to leave as Batman?
In an interview recently, Keaton addressed this burning question, and it turns out that the solution isn’t that complicated.
According to Keaton, he and Schumacher had a difference of opinion when it came to the more colorful, lighthearted, and sillier tone of Batman Forever; “I just can’t do it,” according to an interview he did with the In the Envelope podcast.
“One of the reasons I couldn’t do it was — and you know, he’s a nice enough man, he’s passed away, so I wouldn’t speak ill of him even if he were alive — he, at one point, after more than a couple of meetings where I kept trying to rationalize doing it and hopefully talking him into saying, ‘I think we don’t want to go in this direction, I think we should go in this direction.’ And he wasn’t going to budge.”
According to Keaton, he informed Schumacher that he couldn’t play the role if it didn’t adhere to the grimmer tone of the Burton pictures., to which Schumacher replied that he didn’t understand why “everything has to be so dark and everything so sad.” The pair could not come to terms after the impasse over the film’s tone, with Keaton viewing the darker tone as central to the character.
Keaton’s take on the character, as well as his approach to the role in general, is that he focuses more on Bruce Wayne than Batman.
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest