After doing Beetlejuice together, director Tim Burton told Michael Keaton that he was doing Batman and wanted him to read the script. Keaton revealed, “I was familiar with the TV show, but I didn’t know the whole comic, the pulpy part of it.” Burton also told Michael Keaton to read Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. After reading it, Keaton told Burton his take on Batman, “He’s ridiculously depressed. He’s a vigilante. He’s got this issue…” And Burton told Keaton that’s exactly what he wanted to do.
In regards to the most recent Dark Knight trilogy, Keaton said, “The guy who’s doing them now, Chris Nolan, he’s so talented, it’s crazy.” After also praising Christian Bale, Keaton added, “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.”
However, Keaton has seen parts of Nolan's movies and heard about them. Keaton continued, “You look at where he went, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I was having meetings about the third one. 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. Didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t want to do it.”