Michael Keaton reveals why he walked away from Batman role

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  • Michael Keaton
    Michael Keaton
    American actor, producer, and director
  • Joel Schumacher
    Joel Schumacher
    American film director
Michael Keaton had a different vision credit:Bang Showbiz
Michael Keaton had a different vision credit:Bang Showbiz

Michael Keaton walked away from Batman because he didn't like Joel Schumacher's change in direction.

The 70-year-old actor - who starred in Tim Burton's 'Batman' and 'Batman Returns' in 1989 and 1992 respectively - hung up his cape and cowl when the late filmmaker took over the franchise and he's opened up on his decision to move on.

Appearing on 'In the Envelope: The Actor’s Podcast', he said: "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.' "

Instead, Val Kilmer and George Clooney would take on the character in Schumacher's 'Batman Forever' (1995) and 'Batman & Robin' (1997) respectively.

Keaton - who will reprise his role as the Caped Crusader in 'The Flash' and 'Batgirl' - explained how he made sure to channel Bruce Wayne's character as the focus of his Batman films, rather than his crime-fighting alter ego.

He added: "t was always Bruce Wayne. It was never Batman. To me, I know the name of the movie is Batman, and it's hugely iconic and very cool and [a] cultural 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? What kind of person?"

And Keaton previously admitted he needed "a fair amount" of persuading to don the outfit once again, though he insisted that he wasn't "fleeing" the role.

Asked if he needed convincing, the 'Dopesick' actor said: "A fair amount. But I wasn’t fleeing it. It just wasn’t in my consciousness and then, when it was, it was a question of them calling when they had something."

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