Michael Keaton disappointed Batman fans when he did not add to his tally of Caped Crusader films after Batman in 1989 and Batman Returns in 1992.
In the past he has always been diplomatic about his disinclination to make any more, but the real reason will not surprise fans of the franchise.
“The script was bad,” he tells RadioTimes.com. “They were very clear that they were not interested in trying to make it different.
“So I said OK – I think I’d rather do it another way, I think there’s a better way, and there was. The way I suggested was ultimately done by Chris Nolan by going back [to an origin story]. He’s a great director.”
After Batman Returns, Bruce Wayne’s cape and mask was handed to Val Kilmer for the disappointing third film Batman Forever, which was directed by Joel Schumacher and released in 1995.
Christopher Nolan did indeed “go back” to the superhero’s origins as Keaton puts it. He made The Dark Knight trilogy starring Christian Bale which comprises Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
Ben Affleck has now been cast as Wayne, millionaire-turned-superhero, in 2016’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Asked what he thought of the films which followed his tenure in the role, Keaton says: “I haven’t seen them but I know that [Batman actor] Christian Bale is a brilliant actor and Ben Affleck’s gonna be terrific.”
Keaton has often spoken about his antipathy for superhero films and this seems to find expression in his latest movie Birdman, in which he plays Riggan Thomson (see trailer below). He is a washed-up actor, desperate to earn respect with a high-brow stage adaptation of a Raymond Carver novel but finds himself haunted by the superhero character Birdman which found him fame.
“I’ve never seen any of those movies,” he adds. “I saw the first Spiderman. I’ve seen pieces of Ironman, I’ve seen pieces of the Batman things – I’ve never seen an Avengers or anything. I don’t see that many movies; I don’t see enough movies.
“There’s a certain snobbery that sits around blockbuster films, which sometimes I think is very dangerous – they can be brilliantly made, bring great joy to people and be their own art form. Critics can be quite snobby about that.”
It’s clear that Keaton is ambivalent about the Hollywood machine but he claims not to have any regrets.
“I’m a fortunate dude. There are people that have it really hard out there. I don’t have it hard. I have it nice.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years writing for Stage newspaper, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.