Michael Keaton LOVES being Batman. This is no secret because he talks about his love for portraying the character whenever given the chance. Given how much reverence he has for playing the character 30 yrs ago it’s interesting that he didn’t continue playing the character longer. We have heard comments about this in the past but recently Michael Keaton spoke on this again:
Keaton walked away during the development of “Batman Forever,” which saw Joel Schumacher taking over directing duties from the actor’s “Batman” and “Batman Returns” director Tim Burton…
…“It was always Bruce Wayne. It was never Batman,” Keaton said of what drew him to the comic book role. “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?”
“When the director who directed the third one, I said, ‘I just can’t do it,’” Keaton continued. “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.”
This is by far the most detail we’ve gotten on the situation. I think Keaton is picking a very interesting time to revisit the topic and this will likely further interest in his return to the role on the heels of other franchise leading men returning to theirs.
For what it’s worth I do agree with Keaton that things are weird when they’re not dark. I have moments that I liked about Batman Forever as a kid but even as a child I resonated more with Batman Returns and the original Batman.