Can Michael Keaton Continue Career Upswing with ‘The Founder’?

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Fresh off his Golden Globe win and a just-announced Oscar nomination for his starring role in Birdman, Michael Keaton is in a prime position to pick a great next role — and it looks like he may have already found it. The actor is reportedly in talks to take on the starring role in The Founder, the dark and true story of the rise of the McDonald’s fast food empire.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the drama follows Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois who meets Mac and Dick McDonald while they are running a burger operation in Southern California in the 1950s. Impressed by the brothers’ speedy and efficient system of making the food, the salesman sees potential to expand the operation into a franchise and decides to make himself a part of it. He maneuvers himself into a position to take the company from the brothers and ends up creating a billion-dollar empire we’re all familiar with today.

John Lee Hancock is on board to direct the forthcoming drama, which is written by Robert Siegel (Big Fan) and is said to be similar in tone to that of The Social Network and There Will Be Blood. Per THR, Keaton is up for the role of Krock, but his participation in the flick isn’t a done deal yet. The actor has reportedly met with Hancock and received an offer for the part, but negotiations are still ongoing. Meanwhile, FilmNation and Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield’s production shingle The Combine are both on board to produce.

With his career now back on the upswing, Keaton’s next few movie choices could be important to keeping up the positive momentum. He already has several projects in the works. The actor just wrapped his role in the Thomas McCarthy-directed drama, Spotlight, which stars a talented ensemble cast including Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Liev Schreiber and chronicles the Boston Globe’s uncovering of massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. He is also taking on a much more lighthearted role this year, voicing a character in the forthcoming animated Despicable Me spin-off, Minions.

Meanwhile, The Founder isn’t the only film he’s in talks to star in. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Keaton is finalizing a deal to appear in Legendary Pictures’ anticipated Kong: Skull Island, alongside Thor’s Tom Hiddleston and fellow 2015 Golden Globe winner, Whiplash’s JK Simmons.

Should he choose to take on the part, The Founder could prove to be another strong follow-up to his critically acclaimed turn in Birdman. If, as the description states, the movie follows the tone of The Social Network and There Will Be Blood, it seems moviegoers can expect the drama to take a hard-hitting and unflinching look at the rise of what is now the world’s largest fast food chain. Plus, considering both The Social Network and There Will Be Blood earned multiple nominations (including ones for Best Picture) at the Academy Awards, the movie could eventually become another award season contender for Keaton.

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