Michael Keaton has opened up about the career advice he received from Jack Nicholson while the two were hard at work filming Tim Burton’s Batman in London. Obviously, the film became a mammoth blockbuster, lighting the magic on the comic book movie boom that’s in full swing today. But at the time, Keaton and Nicholson had no idea how Batman was going to turn out. It very easily could’ve been a massive flop.
During a riveting roundtable discussion for The Hollywood Reporter, Keaton revealed to fellow actors Samuel L. Jackson, Brian Cox, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hiddleston, and newcomer Quincy Isaiah that Nicholson pulled him aside one day and told Keaton to take a ride with him. While driving around London, Nicholson offered Keaton his advice on how to navigate his career should Batman become a hit, which it did:
So, we’re in the car and he’s talking about the movie. And we all knew it was a huge risk, and if it goes down, [I’d be] going down in flames and that’s going to be a big, hard recovery. But I also knew if it worked, it could change my landscape. So Jack says, “Keats, if this thing’s a hit, you can go out and do four or five flops and not even worry about it.” And maybe it wasn’t four or five, but it used to be you got away with three and it didn’t matter. Not now, man. You’ve got one miss, which is f*cked up.
While Keaton naturally appreciated Nicholson’s advice and getting some one-on-one time with the legendary actor, Keaton later revealed during the roundtable talk that saying, “I’m just going to cruise on this one,” isn’t in him.
“First of all, it’s impossible,” Keaton told the group. “You get there and the work’s the same, man. Even if you’re going to do a 15-second ad for Vaseline, you say, ‘OK, man, I’m all in.’ Because for that minute, I don’t know how to not be all in, not because I’m so f*cking groovy, because I probably have a fear of lying down, of going, ‘Well, don’t be a dick. Do the work.’ You know what I mean? Every time I think I’m going to cruise on this one, I can’t. You can fight it all you want, but it’s in you somewhere.”
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)