Michael Keaton Has Explained Why He Didn’t Want To Return For A Third ‘Batman’ Movie

Thirty years later, the best Batman ever is putting the suit back on. Michael Keaton is reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Flash after previously playing Homer Simpson’s favorite scientist in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns. He was offered the chance to return for 1995’s Batman Forever, but as he explained on the In the Envelope podcast (via IndieWire), he walked away due to creative differences with director Joel Schumacher.

“It was always Bruce Wayne. It was never Batman,” Keaton explained about how he got into character. “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 knew from the get-go it was Bruce Wayne. That was the secret. I never talked about it. Batman, Batman, Batman does this, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘Y’all are thinking wrong here.’ Bruce Wayne. What kind of person does that?… Who becomes that?”

Keaton and Burton shared the same creative vision for Batman, but when the Beetlejuice director was replaced by Schumacher for Batman Forever (a title that Burton amusingly hated), Keaton decided it was time for him to move on, too):

“And then when the director who directed the third one, I said, ‘I just can’t do it.’ And one of the reasons I couldn’t do it was — and you know, he’s a nice enough man, he’s passed away, so I wouldn’t speak ill of him even if he were alive — he, at one point, after more than a couple of meetings where I kept trying to rationalize doing it and hopefully talking him into saying, ‘I think we don’t want to go in this direction, I think we should go in this direction.’ And he wasn’t going to budge.”

Keaton continued, “I remember one of the things that I walked away going, ‘Oh boy, I can’t do this.’ [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 must wake up every day regretting his decision. Not because of the money or the prestige or whatever, but because he didn’t get to see Tommy Lee Jones tell Jim Carrey that he “cannot sanction your buffoonery.”

(Via IndieWire)