Michael Keaton explains
Following his appearances as the titular character in two Batman movies, Michael Keaton explains why he didn’t return for Batman Forever. Credits: Warner Bros. Pictures, Jimmy Kimmel Live

Following his appearances as the titular character in two Batman movies, Michael Keaton explains why he didn’t return for Batman Forever, which was helmed by director Joel Schumacher.

Michael Keaton explains why he didn’t return for Batman Forever

Speaking during an interview with In The Envelope: The Actor’s Podcast, Michael Keaton explained the reasons why he didn’t return for Batman Forever, citing creative differences because he wanted to go more in-depth into the character of Bruce Wayne rather than Batman, while Joel Schumacher wanted to focus more on the character’s superhero alter-ego.

It was always Bruce Wayne. It was never Batman. To me, I know the name of the movie is Batman, and it’s hugely iconic and very cool and [a] cultural iconic and because of Tim Burton, artistically iconic.

I knew from the get-go it was Bruce Wayne. That was the secret. I never talked about it. [Everyone would say] Batman, Batman, Batman does this, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘Y’all are thinking wrong here.’

[It’s all about] Bruce Wayne. What kind of person does that?… Who becomes that? What kind of person [does that]?

And then when the director who directed the third one [came on] I said, ‘I just can’t do it.’

And one of the reasons I couldn’t do it was—and you know, he’s a nice enough man, he’s passed away, so I wouldn’t speak ill of him even if he were alive.

He, at one point, after more than a couple of meetings where I kept trying to rationalize doing it and hopefully talking him into saying I think we don’t want to go in this direction, I think we should go in this direction.

And he wasn’t going to budge.

I remember one of the things that I walked away going, ‘Oh boy, I can’t do this.’

He asked me, ‘I don’t understand why everything has to be so dark and everything so sad,’ and I went, ‘Wait a minute, do you know how this guy got to be Batman? Have you read… I mean, it’s pretty simple.’

Michael Keaton

However, this isn’t the first time Michael Keaton has talked about why he turned down the Batman Forever movie, with the actor saying back in 2017 that is as because the film “sucked” and that the script was “never good”. And now back to the present, Michal Keaton is set to reprise his role as Batman in The Flash and Batgirl.

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