Michael Keaton Thought It Was Easier to Play Batman Now Than It Was in His Time

Michael Keaton is going to suit up as the Batman once more in the DCEU’s upcoming The Flash. The Birdman actor has discussed his feelings about returning to the comic book world, often expressing gratitude at the opportunity of playing Batman again. However, back when Keaton returning as Batman was just a fantasy to some, the Oscar nominee shared how he felt suiting up as Batman is easier in modern times than it was in the past.

A difference he might welcome since he’ll be donning the cape and cowl once again.

Michael Keaton quit Batman because he thought ‘Batman Forever’ was horrible

Michael Keaton staring while wearing glasses and a suit
Michael Keaton | Roy Rochlin/WireImage

As many know, even though Keaton starred in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, he did not come back for Batman Forever. Batman Forever was a loose sequel to Batman Returns directed by Joel Schumacher, who decided to go in a different direction with the mythology. But it was a direction Keaton wasn’t on board with.

“The film just wasn’t any good, man,” Keaton said in a resurfaced interview with The Guardian. “I tried to be patient, but after a certain point, I was like, I can’t take this anymore, this is going to be horrible.”

In an interview with Access, Keaton commented that Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was the direction he wanted Tim Burton’s Batman Batman to go in.

“He’s the one who got it…he got it and he took it to a whole other level,” Keaton said about Christopher Nolan. “That general direction was always where I thought that character and the story could go. He just did it brilliantly.”

Michael Keaton once thought it was easier to play Batman now than it was in his time

In a 2014 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Michael Keaton remarks how people would ask him about Ben Affleck being cast as Batman. The Good Will Hunting star was revealed the year before to be taking up the mantle in Zack Snyder’s Batman V. Superman. At that point, however, Keaton was far removed from his days as the Dark Knight.

“I just have zero interest in those kind of movies,” Keaton said. “I mean, people are asking me, ‘Is Ben Affleck going to be any good?’ And my attitude is, first of all, why are you asking me?”

Despite his feelings at the time, he still couldn’t help but draw a comparison between his own Batman with Batmen of modern times.

“Second, he’s probably going to be very good, and third, frankly, it’s all set up now so that you’re weirdly kind of safe,” Keaton said. “Once you get in those suits, they really know what to do with you. It was hard then; it ain’t that hard now.”

Keaton may have had a change of heart over the years. The actor, who once had no interest in these films, will be seen reprising his role as the Caped Crusader when The Flash arrives in 2022 . Going back to that world, Keaton has admitted how much he appreciates the scale of it all.

“I never looked at it like, ‘Oh, this is just a silly thing.’ It was not a silly thing when I did Batman,” Keaton once told The Hollywood Reporter. “But it has become a giant thing, culturally. It’s iconic. This is a big deal in the world to people. You’ve got to honor that and be respectful of that.”

Michael Keaton explained why he disappeared for 16 years

In the same interview with The Guardian, Keaton acknowledges that his spotlight was fading. He was still featuring in movies, but his subsequent roles didn’t have the same flair as a Beetlejuice or Batman. Keaton explains the reason for this as life happening.

“Look, there’s two different things here,” Keaton said. “There’s me taking a pause: I really like life, doing things, having a normal life. So there was that. And there was me getting bored, hearing the sound of my voice, seeing the same old tricks. So I may have lost interest, combined with a whole lot of people not knocking on my door.”

But although Keaton took a bit of a break from acting in the 2000s, he insists that he was always around.

“What people don’t know is, I never left; I was always picking up a little gig here and there,” Keaton told the New York Times. “Throw a little money in the bank. I’m too antsy to sit around anyway. Fortunately, I’m interested in a lot of other things.”

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