Michael Keaton Says He Wanted His Third BATMAN Movie to Be a Nolan-Esque Origin Story

     January 7, 2013


Of all the actors who have played Batman on the big screen, I’ll always have a soft spot for Michael Keaton.  Then again, I tend to enjoy Michael Keaton in all of his movies, and I wish he had donned the cape and cowl a third time.  In a recent interview with Marc Maron on the WTF podcast, Keaton said he wanted the third go-around, and pitched an origin story along the lines of where Christopher Nolan eventually went with the caped crusader.

Hit the jump for more.

batman-michael-keatonSpeaking on the WTF podcast [via The Playlist], Keaton said:

“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.”

Michael-Keaton-BatmanSadly, this was not to be, and when Burton left the franchise, so did Keaton since Joel Schumacher didn’t agree with the actor’s vision for the third film.  Furthermore, Keaton sensed which way the bat-winds were blowing.  “I could see that was going south,” said Keaton.  This falls in line with comments Keaton made to the L.A. Times back in 2011 about the third movie:

“I knew we were in trouble in talks for the third one when certain people started the conversation with ‘Why does it have to be so dark?’ ‘Why does he have to be so depressed?’ ‘Shouldn’t there be more color in this thing?’ I knew I was headed for trouble and that it wasn’t a road I was going to go down.”


  • Quick reaction to bullshit

    It’s so easy to watch from a safe distance without having taken no risk in the development of a franchise and than 7 years after unbelievable success, say that you wanted to do the exact same thing.

    • Ramone

      The creative differences between Keaton and Schumaker were reported years ago. And saying you want to do an origin story isn’t like saying you want the exact same outcome. He just mentioned that they did a great job with their version of the origin.

      • Quick reaction to bullshit

        He gives them props, yes, just to say that he actually haven’t seen the movies proceeding to say – “You look at where he went, which is EXACTLY what I wanted to do when I was having meetings about the third one”. So not only does he give credit to a piece of art he hasn’t seen, he also says that he would have done the same thing. Really? I don’t think he thought the whole thing through.

    • Jonathan

      Making a Batman origin story after the first two with Burton was kind of a no-brainer. Batman Year One was already out by that time and they could’ve easily made a movie out of that. The opportunity just never got taken until Nolan took the reigns. It’s not a unique and genius idea to make a Batman origin movie and make it (gasp) dark. After the complaints on how dark Batman Returns was they decided to get cold feet and make a mockery of the entire Batman franchise.

    • SeanPhilly

      Keaton put his money where his mouth is. He turned down $15 million (in 1990s dollars) because he didn’t like the direction they were going with the third movie.

      • Ramone

        Exactly–he doesn’t give a shit about the money. He just wanted a decent story. He knew a year or two ahead of the rest of us schmucks that Schumacher was shoveling shit into theaters and putting a bat symbol on it.

    • Nate

      Good point. Hind sight is 20/20.

  • Caleb Crawford

    As a huge Batman fan, I have to agree: Michael Keaton is by far the best Batman on film (also has my favorite Batsuit and Batmobile).

    • Lexavi80

      I almost agree!

      I think Michael Keaton is the best Batman after Christian Bale. Keaton was so dark and scary. Perfect for Batman!

    • Caleb is right.

      Keaton was the best Batman. Bale is a servant to the story and brings little besides the silly voice. Keaton had a distinct personality and wasn’t completely overshadowed by his villains which is hard to do in these films. Mr. Mom rules!

    • Weeks

      Gotta disagree on this one. Bruce Wayne is supposed to be a handsome, athletic playboy who seems so carefree that no one would ever suspect him of ever doing anything serious. Think JFK Jr. The way Keaton played him, he’d be suspect number one. Think about it: It would become apparent in an instant that this masked vigilante would require a lot of money to finance that arsenal of his. Plus the fact that Batman suddenly emerged just as the wealthy Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham after x number of years. Too coincidental. The shallow billionaire act was necessary camouflage. Keaton’s Bruce Wayne was mysterious in a way that was too loud.

      • Chad

        Right, and Nolan’s/Bale’s Wayne wasn’t overly mysterious? Especially in the awful RISES, he’s a Howard Hughes recluse how just happens to disappear the same time Batman does, and isn’t seen for 8 years… C’mon, man, think out an argument before you present it and end up with egg on your face.

  • sense 11

    Michael Keaton is a smart man, he got out just in time

  • Truthbetold

    He is so FOS to say he hasn’t seen any of the Nolan Batman films. I know for a fact he watched all 3 and watched the 2nd one with Heath Ledger more than once!!!

  • Slice

    the 1989 Batman is still rock solid. Probably hold up better than at least two of the Nolan films.

    • chad vaughn


      • shill

        Chad, you and your pathetic comment are full of horseshit and humanfeces too.

        ‘Batman’ (1989) and ‘Batman Returns’ are miles, millions of miles, infinite miles better than anything that nolan has made. Burton’s Gotham City actually looks like Gotham City, not like Chicago. The Batcave in Burton’s Batman is awesome and more than a damn computer on a dinky rock. Also Burton’s Batmobile is soooooooo much better than that piece of turd shhit on wheels tumbler. The music in Burton’s Batman films is sooooo much better than the nolan drivel. The Batman costume in Burton’s Batman is soooooo much better than the crap shitfest costumes of nolans version. These are just a few out of the MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY examples of how Tim Burtons’ ‘Batman’ (1989) and ‘Batman Returns’ are infinitely better, more awesome and superior to nolans sshit.

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  • billfinn

    The 1989 Batman was a trail-blazer that unleashed the comic-book movie craze. TAS, Spiderman, Xmen, Iron Man, Hulk, Hellboy, etc, Avengers, etc. all followed Burton’s tracks. Most of Nolan’s fans were wearing diapers. And in terms of creativity and craftsmanship, it still holds up as the best of the bunch.

  • doctor_robot

    keaton was talking about HIS batman flicks(not watching them)… not nolan’s.

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  • Afilmguy

    Actually, Matt, Burton was given a producer’s credit for “Batman Forever”… this is to assume Burton got out one movie later, after Keaton.

    • Acekidder

      Actually Burton had nothing to do with Batman Forever his only involvement was to hand over the reigns to the Devil Schumacher After the idiots at WB decided they didn’t want a dark serious film ie Burtons previous batman flicks. Such a travesty i wish i had a time machine so i could go back and fix this preventing the forever and batman & robin movie disasters.

  • Now that Nolan has proved himself a fraud

    We can all admit that Burton’s intepretation was vastly superior. The Dark Knight Rises contains may elements that surpass even Batman & Robin in the silliness department. Bane’s Speeches anyone? Bane’s constume anyone? Actually Bane from Batman & Robin had a far more credible characterization.

    • Fudgie

      You’re an idiot.

    • fa

      You sir are a dick sir.

    • Simon Tarses

      Are you full of crap, or what? Bane’s supposed to be able to talk in an articulate manner, and drive the plot, not be the henchman of Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. And the plot holes weren’t as half as bad as that of Batman & Robin-I think that the nostalgia’s been getting too you way to much, and now you’re imagining things!

    • Shaun

      Admit what, exactly?

      I hated TDKR, but the first two Nolan Bat-films are, IMO, so vastly superior to Burton’s freak shows that there’s no comparison. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight remain two of my favorite films ever, it’s just that (I feel) Nolan dropped the ball at the end of the game.

      Regardless, I find the 1989 Batman film almost unwatchable now and while it’s not as goofy as the Schumacher travesties, it’s almost as goofy. Nolan’s movies (the first two at least) are simply better cast, better written, and all around better films. Burton never really understood the Batman/Bruce Wayne character, and it showed.

      You can certainly question Nolan’s understanding after his finale, but on the whole he “got it” in a way Burton never did.

  • Northern Star

    Michael keaton remains, for me, the definitive Bruce Wayne/Batman… his is a Wayne truly screwed up and genuinely eccentric, with an underlying darkness that makes him dangerous!

    That and the Keaton bat-suit is still just awesome looking even 24 years later…

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  • Ramone

    Exactly–he doesn\’t give a shit about the money. He just wanted a decent story. He knew a year or two ahead of the rest of us schmucks that Schumacher was shoveling shit into theaters and putting a bat symbol on it.

  • Thinkaboutit!

    Nolan should remake all his Batman films and cast Michael Keaton as Batman.

    Ryan Seacrest should be cast as Ras Al Ghul. Ellen Degenres should be cast as the Joker. Bruce Willis (with the aid of some serious CGI to give his face youth) should be cast as Bane.

    Commissioner Gordon? Well look no further than Neil Patrick Harris.

    Cat woman? Susan Boyle.

  • Henny

    I actually like Keaton as Bruce/Batman just a bit more than Bale. It has nothing to do with the voice that so many people unjustingly hate, but because Keaton managed to create a dual performance that felt like two different people. I felt Bale was just playing Bruce is Batman.

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  • Imrighturwrong

    You have to be joking. I love the Burton Batmans but the Nolan series, at least the first two installments, are some of the best films made in the last decade, regardless of genre. You need to lay off the pipe and get your mind right. The batcave from Burton is actually just a giant computer with an elevated parking spot next to it. Burton’s batmobiles are shells on top of other cars. At least Nolan’s batmobile looks and acts the part of a bad, ass-kicking superhero mobile. The costume? The Dark Knight would not have a bright yellow belt to help blow his cover. The whole point of his dark costume is to help him hide and blend in, not stick out like part of big bird’s reject ensemble. Come on man. You are way off, in all portions of your analysis

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  • MrsJaxTeller

    Michael Keaton was the best Batman. George Clooney the wors (even though I love him). Christian Bale was good but I hated that silly voice he used.

  • Tyler Scott

    Why not have Keaton and Burton do Batman Beyond? If we can see Keaton under the cowl again, can we at least let him reprise his role as Bruce Wayne? I would love to see that! I would also would like to see how Tim Burton would make the futuristic Gotham dark and gritty.

  • J

    Michael RULES !! :)

  • Nolan Sucks

    A lot of people still need to get educated on what happened after Batman Returns. Warners received many letters of hate mail that said Returns was much too dark and was giving children nightmares. Because of this Warners wanted to go much lighter for the next movie and were very hesitant about letting Burton return as director, and it didn’t take long before he realized they didn’t want him back. They hired Schumacher to direct the third movie exactly how they wanted it. And because it did extremely well they assumed the audience loved the lighter take in Batman Forever and they decided if they make the fourth movie even lighter it would do even better. Everyone blames Schumacher for Batman Forever and Batman & Robin but they really should be blaming Warners as he was just doing what he was told to do. Schumacher also wanted to do a dark origin story for Batman but Warners felt it wasn’t what the studio wanted. If anyone has seen any of Schumacher’s other films they would realize he would have been very capable of delivering a very dark and serious Batman.

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  • Boogiemaan

    Micheal Keaton “i knew they was heading for trouble when they was talkn bout nipples on the suit” lol!!!

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