Michael Keaton: I wanted to do ‘Beetlejuice 2’ a long time ago

BEVERLY HILLS – Michael Keaton may have won a Golden Globe for “Birdman,” but for at least a moment backstage, talk centered on a much less of-the-moment project: Tim Burton's 1988 comedy “Beetlejuice,” in which the actor starred as the ghoulish title character.

“It is not up to me,” said the Best Lead Actor in a Musical or Comedy winner after being asked if he was on board for the long-rumored sequel. “I said for years, I don”t know why we didn”t do another one two years later. …[Now] it is a question of me and Tim being around and available.”

Speaking of old films, Keaton remembers the moment he watched Amy Heckerling's 1982 comedy “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and became aware of a then-fresh young actor named Sean Penn. His comments came following a question about acting in a comedy (which “Birdman” was somewhat bafflingly categorized as) vs. a drama.

“Approach them the same, do your homework and go to work,” said Keaton. “The first time – when I saw 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' I see this kid as a young guy, holy moly. This guy”s approach to comedy was so good and so authentic, and I called and I said 'I saw this guy in this movie, I want to do a movie with him,' and it was Sean Penn. He happened to be funny, but what I dug about it was how authentic it was. Jonah Hill is the same, so committed to the comedy. As it turns out, he was Sean Penn this wonderful actor.”

As for his Golden Globe win – his first major award in a career spanning four decades – he indicated he's not taking it for granted.

“There”s so many great actors out there. Look, man, I”ll take this. This is great,” he said. “But who is better or best, is distasteful but a tricky thing. I am proud and I”ll take it. There”s not a person in that room tonight who couldn”t have won something.”

As for his moving speech, in which he namechecked his “best friend” (a.k.a. his 31-year-old son Sean), he had this to say:

“You don”t have the time to get to everybody,” he told us of the obligatory “thank yous” onstage after a win. “I thought if I get a shot at this one, I thought this was the time to do it. There are so many people to thank, but you always look out for your best friend.”