Batman actor Michael Keaton opened up about his return to his 80s legacy in The Flash during a recent interview.
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Talking about his career in a Hollywood Reporter cover story, Keaton tells the outlet what ultimately drew him back to the cape and cowl was how seriously he takes what he does, though he skipped out on Batman Forever over displeasure with the script, leading the veteran actor to holding onto staging a comeback one day.
“Frankly, in the back of my head, I always thought, ‘I bet I could go back and nail that motherf*****,’” Keaton said.
This claim is somewhat contrary to his comments from earlier this year about being on the fence regarding committing to The Flash because of COVID surges and not reading the script.
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However, Keaton concedes he couldn’t resist the offer or the challenge it presents. “And so I thought, ‘Well, now that they’re asking me, let me see if I can pull that off,’” he related.
So Keaton accepted and is now wrapped on the film but reprising the Dark Knight came with additional hurdles. One issue, for instance, arose from confusion over the Multiverse concept Warner Bros, DC, and Christina Hodson’s screenplay used to reincorporate his Bruce Wayne.
An academic idea to comic readers that needs no explanation, Multiversity went over the Birdman star’s head. “I had to read it more than three times to go, ‘Wait, how does this work?’” he explained.
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“They had to explain that to me several times,” Keaton continued, while clarifying, “I’m not being arrogant, I hope, about this. I don’t say it like, ‘I’m too groovy.’ I’m stupid. There’s a lot of things I don’t know about.”
He added further, “And so, I don’t know, I just kind of figured it out, but this was different,” because it gave him a new respect and understanding for the Bat phenomenon he helped create.
“What’s really interesting is how much more I got [Batman] when I went back and did him,” Keaton shared. “I get this on a whole other level now. I totally respect it. I respect what people are trying to make.”
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But make no mistake, the actor always appreciated Batman and wished to be sincere to the material. “I never looked at it like, ‘Oh, this is just a silly thing’,” he said. “It was not a silly thing when I did Batman. But it has become a giant thing, culturally. It’s iconic.”
As undeniably iconic as Batman is, though, recognition of that is where it stops as you won’t find Keaton watching very many comic book movies. “After the first Batman, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an entire [comic book] movie,” he admits. “I just never got around to it. So you’re talking to a guy who wasn’t in the zeitgeist of that whole world.”
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In his mind, that may be so but fans and his continued participation within it as the definitive Caped Crusader and The Vulture at Marvel will constantly put him in that zeitgeist as long as Keaton believes he can go back to “nail” that you-know-what.