With the hindsight of decades having passed and countless other superheroes being recast over the years, some fans may not remember what a big deal it was for Michael Keaton to be replaced as Batman between the second and third movies at Warner Bros. Having proven the haters wrong with 1989's Batman and then reprising his role again in Batman Returns, Keaton seemed all set to return as the caped crusader, that is until he had a few meetings with director Joel Schumacher and realized they had conflicting visions of the character. Speaking in a new interview Keaton has opened up about why he walked away, and it came down to the differences that the two saw in Batman.
Speaking with Backstage's In the Envelope: The Actor's Podcast, Keaton said: "At one point, after more than a couple of meetings where I kept trying to rationalize doing it and hopefully kind of talking him into saying 'I think we don't want to go in this direction, really I think we want to 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'. (Joel Schumacher) 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.'"
Keaton also offered a peak into his take on the Batman character, which resulted in the impasse that both he and Schumacher found themselves in.
"To me, I know the name of the movie is Batman, and it's hugely iconic and very cool and culturally iconic and because of Tim Burton, artistically iconic. I always knew from the get-go it was Bruce Wayne. That was the secret. I never talked about it. 'Batman, you have to be Batman, Batman does this,' and I kept thinking to myself, 'Y'all are thinking wrong here.' It's about Bruce Wayne. Who's that guy? What kind of person does that? Who becomes that?'"
After thirty years Keaton will once again take on the role of Batman for both the upcoming The Flash movie but also the HBO Max Batgirl feature film, both of which are scheduled to be released in 2022.