Michael Keaton thought his vision of Batman was unlikely to happen.
The 71-year-old actor took on the title role of the superhero in the 1989 film directed by Tim Burton and returned to star in its 1992 sequel Batman Returns but explained that he believed his own views on the character would not make the final cut because he couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to see him portrayed in that way.
He told Empire: “I remember exactly where we were. He said, ‘I wanna talk to you about something… I just want you to read this, because I think I’m gonna make this movie’ What’s interesting if you think about this is that up until then, his and my relationship was only Beetlejuice. So there was something, I don’t know that I’ve ever asked him this, actually, but something gave him the idea and so he said, ‘go home and read it.'”
“I said, ‘Well, no one’s going to do what I think, this is probably not going to happen, because I can’t imagine anyone would want to make the movie that I see’ and all I said, ‘listen to me Tim.’ And I started to go down the list of the guy, Bruce Wayne with him, my take on him and he didn’t say anything but his hair was long at the time and I could see it moving as he nodded, ‘yes… yes… Exactly.’ He’s a rare breed, a true artist and a true original. He was already seeing it and it was basically the Frank Miller stuff. And I wasn’t aware of all that stuff, I just knew what it was, but I knew I had to read the Miller stuff. And I thought, ‘oh, this could be interesting.'”
Michael added that his vision of the Bruce Wayne character was as having a “depressed” nature and recalled that Tim complied with the idea to his surprise.
He said: “He’s depressed. I wasn’t really committing to it because I didn’t know what he’d say. Actually, I don’t know I thought he might say but if I was saying it to a studio exec, they’d say, ‘I don’t know if he’s really depressed… I’m not so sure…’ I was sweating bullets and Tim said, ‘Oh yeah, for sure.’ We also thought he was odd, an odd dude, which was fun.”