At a press conference this past Thursday for the upcoming film, RoboCop, Michael Keaton recounted a tale of how wearing the uncomfortable and untested Batman suit helped him find inspiration for his role in 1989’s Batman.
“When I did the first Batman I made a joke, but I was serious,” said Keaton “I just worked the suit. I made that suit work for me. I’m very claustrophobic, and we didn’t know that the suit was going to work at all until literally hours before we were going to start shooting the suit…In fact, it didn’t totally work. The first time I had to react to something the thing stuck to my face and there’s a giant hole!
“I started having panic attacks,” he continued “so I thought ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do this.’ And then it hit me: This is perfect, this is designed for this kind of really unusual dude, the Bruce Wayne guy that has this other personality that’s really dark, and really alone and really kind of depressed. This is it. You just take all that stuff the suit was giving me and say ‘Oh, I got it! I know exactly how to do this now.”
Keaton plays the role of Raymond Sellars, CEO of OmniCorp, in RoboCop. The story came up as Joel Kinnaman, who plays Alex Murphy, discussed how he managed his own challenges with RoboCop’s suit.
“It was a bit of a challenge to put on this suit,” Kinnaman said. “The first time I put it on we were out in Pasadena on a hot day and it took an hour and 45 minutes to put on and it was so uncomfortable, it was digging in everywhere, it was pressing down on my shoulders, I was just sweating like a pig and after 20 minutes I was like 'I've got to get out of this.' I was thinking to myself that it was daunting, the idea that I was going to have to wear this 14 hours a day, six days a week for five months. But, actually, the suit became one of the first seeds that led my imagination into the vulnerability of what Alex Murphy felt when he became RoboCop. It was an interesting contrast because he’s got this body that is so powerful but he feels very uncomfortable. He’s amputated from the throat down and he doesn’t know who he is anymore. So my little level of discomfort sort of led me to think of what Alex would have felt times 1,000. So I was surprised to think that this suit that should make me feel so powerful actually made me feel so vulnerable.”
Keaton went on to praise Kinnaman’s performance:
"People don’t know how hard it is to do what you need to do,” said Keaton “because your natural instinct might be to say ‘let’s face it, I’m in this suit’ which, out of context, is kind of ridiculous. It makes you want to go out, and he kind of went inside. He has these great transitions, and that’s really hard to do when you have this big black suit.”
Of course, according to Kinnaman, that didn’t stop Keaton from teasing him about his suit problems.0comments
“I got no sympathy from Michael Keaton about my suit,” said Kinnaman, laughing. “He was like ‘You got it easy! They had to glue my suit on!’”
RoboCop arrives in theaters February 12, 2014.