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Michael Keaton Explains Why He Left Batman, and Why His Bruce Wayne Was ‘Right On’

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

For a lot of young folks, Michael Keaton is their first introduction to a cinematic Batman, his version of the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton’s 1989 movie still considered one of the most lauded and fun interpretations of Bruce Wayne to this day. But even the best actors need to know when to call it quits, and Keaton recently explained what drove him to say no to Batman 3.

While talking to The Guardian, Keaton recalled the significant backlash he and Burton felt when his casting was announced.

I truly didn’t understand why people cared one way or another, and I can’t believe people still care. I just thought, ‘I know what I’m doing,’ and I could be wrong, but in terms of what Tim and I discussed for the movie, I knew we were right on.

But after two movies, he knew he had to put his foot down when Tum Burton left the franchise and Joel Schumacher took over.

[The film] just wasn’t any good, man. I tried to be patient, but after a certain point, I was like, I can’t take this any more, this is going to be horrible. But, look, there was some really horrible taste in the 90s, and I probably contributed to that, unfortunately. It was a time of nouveau riche excess – everyone was known for their jets and their stuff. And I thought, I’m in this job for the long run, I don’t want this. And the truth is, I’m not boasting, but I was correct. There are a whole load of people who ran things that are long gone.

Ultimately, he says, it’s about being a part of a certain kind of creativity.

Look, it’s not like I don’t think about the business – I am cognizant of that side of things – but if you overthink the money part, you tend to mess it up. I actually thought [Birdman] might not work, but I also thought, even if it doesn’t work, I want to be a part of this kind of creativity. I want to be around this. It’s like making movies with Tim [Burton]. Being around that is so much fun, you just want to be in that environment.

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