This might be hard to believe, but Michael Keaton has never watched superhero movies, other than his own. It’s a fascinating revelation from the Oscar-nominated actor, and it comes from a new interview with Variety’s Emily Longeretta, in which the 70-year-old actor discusses his recent projects. Michael Keaton may be the best Batman to ever appear on-screen (don’t even think about arguing that point), but he admits to not being a fan of sitting down to watch many movies, including more cinematic takes on Batman. He may not watch other Batmen, but certainly loves being Batman, as his 2018 commencement speech at his alma mater, Kent State University, proved.
In the interview, Michael Keaton makes it clear that he doesn’t dislike superhero movies, he is just picky about making time to sit and watch a movie or TV series. “I’ve never seen an entire version of any of those movies – any Marvel movie, any other,” he said of superhero films. “I don’t say that I don’t watch that because I’m highbrow – trust me! It’s not that. It’s just that there’s very little things I watch.” His comments were seemingly directed at superhero movies he hasn’t appeared in, as he referred to not seeing other Marvel films besides Spider-Man: Homecoming, in which he played Adrian Toomes/The Vulture.
From his very first role as a panda on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1975 (no we’re not kidding), Michael Keaton never seems to take a break from acting and shows no signs of slowing down now. Even as he nears 50 years in the business, and 40 years since his breakthrough role in Night Shift, his roles to date have been among his most notable, which is really saying something after his 1980s heyday, in which he strung together a row of hits, topped off with 1989’s Batman from director Tim Burton. His relentless drive to work, and not rest on his laurels, seems to be driven by his love of film. “I sit there and go, ‘Oh, man, I forgot how great this is.’ There’s nothing like it. There will never be anything like that.”
That may be why, after more nearly 30 years away from the role, Michael Keaton agreed to return as Bruce Wayne for The Flash, which will pair up his Batman with Ben Affleck’s Batman in a multiverse adventure with Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen. When asked why he would return to the role, he said “It has to be good, and there has to be a reason.” His reason, as it turns out, was quite simple. “It seemed like fun,” he said. “I thought, why not? It’s cool to drop in and I’m curious to see if I can pull it off.” He seemed to have so much fun, that he also agreed to reprise the character for Batgirl, and that HBO Max film is rumored to premiere later this year, although no date has been set.
Keaton admits that donning the cowl again fascinated him, even if superhero movies, in general, do not. “I was curious what it would be like after this many years. Not so much me doing it – obviously, some of that – but I was just curious about it, weirdly, socially,” he said. Michael Keaton also admits to being fascinated by the universe-building of the DC and Marvel movies he has appeared in. “This whole thing is gigantic. They have their entirely own world. So, I like to look at it as an outsider, thinking ‘Holy moly!’”
Never having seen other superhero movies may have ended up being a blessing in disguise for Michael Keaton. He is unaffected by the portrayals of other Batman actors, so they can’t influence him. With Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson’s The Batman taking a grittier, more realistic take on the genre, Michael Keaton was asked if that trend had changed Bruce Wayne and his performance. “Not mine,” he joked. However, his return could see his role change somewhat, as one would expect an older Bruce Wayne would take on a mentor role to Batgirl (played by Leslie Grace) and Barry Allen.