A sequel to Beetlejuice – director Tim Burton’s beloved 1980s horror/comedy about an incorrigible mischievous specter named you-know-what (played by Michael Keaton) – was rumored throughout the 1990s, but seemed dead by the time the new century rolled around. However, that outlook changed two years ago, when screenwriter/producer Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows) started to work on a new script for Beetlejuice 2.
Since then, Burton has entered preliminary talks for him to direct the Beetlejuice sequel, while Keaton’s former costar Winona Ryder has teased that – should the project fully make its way out of the grave – she is ready and willing to play the adult version of her character from the first movie (i.e. morbid teenager Lydia Deetz).
MTV interviewed Keaton at the junket for this week’s release RoboCop (featuring Keaton as the corporate antagonist), at which time the actor revealed that not only have he and Burton (casually) discussed Beetlejuice 2, but at this stage both seem prepared (and eager) to jump back into that pool:
“I’ve e-mailed Tim a couple of times, talked to the writer a couple of times, but all really, really preliminary stuff until relatively recently. I always said that’s the one thing I’d like to do again, if I ever did anything again. But it kind of required Tim to be involved some way or another.
“Now it looks like he is involved. And without giving too much away we’ve talked to each other, and e-mailed each other, and if he’s in, it’s going to be hard not to be in.”
In addition to his role in RoboCop, Keaton will costar in next month’s video game movie Need for Speed, followed later this year by a starring turn in filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu’s showbiz comedy/satire Birdman (in a cheekily meta-role as an actor who once played an iconic superhero). That is to say, Keaton may experience a bit of a surge in popularity among younger moviegoers this year; combine that with longtime fans’ interest in seeing him back as “The Ghost with the Most,” and the near future might be as good as time as any for Beetlejuice 2 (with Keaton) to finally happen.
In truth, the thing that makes a number of people nervous about Beetlejuice 2 isn’t so much Keaton’s age or even how long it’s been since the first movie released in theaters. Rather, it’s that Burton movies of late has been missing that old mad genius spark, and instead feel more like installments in a brand than anything else; that Beetlejuice 2 is being written by the same guy who scripted Burton’s messy Dark Shadows reboot, doesn’t help.
That said, Burton seemed to regain some of his old wit (and heart) on his last movie, the stop-motion feature take on his 1980s short Frankenweenie. He’s currently in the midst of editing Big Eyes, an off-beat Americana/biographical film which (if it lives up to its potential) could be another step back on track for the quirky filmmaker – a specialist in what you might call “pop weirdness” – and continue to regain the faith of those who’ve been let down by his recent work.
Keeping all that in mind, we’ve also heard that Burton’s next directing project might be Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars – based on the best-selling Ransom Riggs’ novel with the longer title – with a 2015 release date in mind. So, best to refrain from celebrating Beetlejuice 2‘s return from the dead (sorry, couldn’t be helped) as being a sure thing just yet.
We’ll continue to let you know what’s going on with Beetlejuice 2 as more information becomes available.