Ten years before Batman Begins hit theaters and jump started the ailing Dark Knight film franchise, Warner Bros released a decidedly different Batman movie called Batman Forever. The film was the first directed by Joel Schumacher and attempted to “lighten up” the darker Tim Burton movies with a convoluted storyline about The Riddler and Two-Face turning the people of Gotham into TV watching zombies… Or something. But that wasn’t what Michael Keaton wanted.
The Batman/Bruce Wayne role was taken over by Val Kilmer in Forever, but originally Keaton was supposed to return. In a new interview with the WTF podcast, Keaton recounted meetings with the studio where he wanted to take the character next, as well as his admiration for what Christopher Nolan’s done with the Caped Crusader.
“The guy who’s doing them now, Chris Nolan, he’s so talented, it’s crazy. [Christian Bale] is so talented. It’s so good.” he enthused. “But I say that like I’ve seen them, and I actually haven’t. I didn’t even see much of the second one that I did.”
“You look at where he went, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I was having meetings about the third one,” he continued. “I said you want to see how this guy started. We’ve got a chance here to fix whatever we kind of maybe went off. This could be brilliant.”
Keaton’s portrayal of Batman and Bruce Wayne in Burton’s Bat-films still holds up and it remains some of the best, out-of-left-field casting ever in the history of blockbuster movies. Some of you young people might not remember, but there was once a time when the casting of Michael Keaton as Batman was highly controversial. He was, at the time, most famous for being Mr Mom and Beetlejuice after all.
And now you know the rest of the story…