Michael Keaton Will Poke Fun at Batman Persona in ‘Birdman’

Published 2 years ago by

michael keaton birdman Michael Keaton Will Poke Fun at Batman Persona in Birdman

It would be unfair to describe Michael Keaton as being out of work. He recently signed on to star in the adaptation of video game series Need for Speed, alongside Dominic Cooper and Aaron Paul – and though nothing has officially been announced by Disney, it’s suspected that he’ll reprise his role as Ken in the next Toy Story movie.

Perhaps it’s because his career is relatively healthy at the moment that Keaton is willing to deliver a self-deprecating performance in another of his upcoming projects. Fox Searchlight has announced that principal photography has begun this week on Birdman (alternative title: The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a new comedy from Alejandro González Iñárritu. Here’s the official synopsis, courtesy of the press release:

“[Birdman is] a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Keaton) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.”

Also appearing in the film is Edward Norton, who, according to Deadline, was cast as an “egotistical lead stage actor” who disrupts Keaton’s attempts to create the Broadway play that will rejuvenate his career. Norton has something of a reputation for being difficult to work with – so much so that Kevin Feige more or less explicitly stated this as the reason for dumping him in favor of Mark Ruffalo when casting Hulk in The Avengers. It will be interesting to see whether Norton is willing to indulge in a little self-parody for his role in Birdman.

Norton and Keaton aren’t the only superhero movie veterans on the cast list. Emma Stone, a talented comedy actress who took on the role of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man, will play Keaton’s daughter – an actress who has just gotten out of rehab and who is hired as an assistant by her father. Stone has never been at the center of any drink or drugs scandals, so it’s possible that her character is a bit of a dig at starlets like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. There are a couple of photos of Stone filming Birdman over at Just Jared, if you want to get a sneak peek at what she’ll look like in the movie.

Emma Stone for Crimson Peak 1 Michael Keaton Will Poke Fun at Batman Persona in Birdman

Iñárritu is a Mexican director, best known in English-language cinema for drama film 21 Grams, which starred Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts, and his 2006 global drama, Babel. Watts is also listed as one of the stars of Iñárritu’s new film, along with Oblivion‘s Andrea Riseborough and Gone Baby Gone actress Amy Ryan. The final name on the cast list is comedian Zach Galifianakis, who displayed a skill for slightly darker comedy in Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s 2010 indie It’s Kind of a Funny Story, in which he played a long-term resident of a psychiatric ward.

The great cast that has been assembled, and the high quality of Iñárritu’s past films, definitely make Birdman a project to look out for in the future – as does the potential for in-jokes and wink-wink references. Let’s just hope that it turns out a little better than My Name is Bruce.


Birdman will probably arrive in theaters some time in 2014, but we’ll let you know when the film gets an official release date.

Source: Fox Searchlight

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Birdman
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  2. You didn’t mention that he’s also working on RoboCop :)

    • Plus, it appears that he will be returning in Beetlejuice 2, as well.

  3. I actually missed Norton being left out of The Avengers, hopefully for comedic purposes we’ll get to see that self-parody in this film… Of course it wouldn’t be done out of bitterness, will it?

  4. Hey, I actually enjoyed My Name Is Bruce.

    And yeah, I agree with an above comment, I still prefer Norton over Ruffalo as Banner.

    This movie sounds good but it has Galifianakis in it and he alwways seemed a bit of a one-note “actor/comedian” that seems famous more because of his facial hair than any (apparent) talents, although I admit I’ve only ever seen him in one thing (and have no desire to see anything else he’s been in, including those terrible looking Hangover movies).

    Same reason I skipped Despicable Me too, I’ve always hated Russell Brand and couldn’t bear the thought of listening to that idiot’s voice.

  5. You forgot Robocop. bub.

  6. And he’s gonna make another beetlejuice movie

  7. In keaton we trust

  8. I’m surprised Keaton doesn’t get more work.

  9. Sounds like it will be a fun movie

  10. I believe Keaton was the best batman of them all. Even better than Bale.

    • He had more of an edge to him than the others.

      • @ Paul & Jeff

        I agree 100%, he was the best.

  11. I agree. I alittle bit of me wishes Keaton was young enough to play Batman again in the reboot. But then again i would prefer Kevin Conroy as he too looked like a great Bruce Wayne during the 90′s. He’s actor aswell, not just a voice actor best known for Batman. I bet he could of pulled of the dual role in live-action films if he was young now as he was then. That’s my opinion

  12. Hopefully Stephen Colbert can reprise his roll as Phil Ken Sebben.

  13. Just so most of you know, this movie is about a totally different character named Birdman. It is not about the Hanna Barbera Birdman at all.

  14. I like how rudy takes a beating alone. my favorite is the true film of his “THE RECONING”

  15. If you think Bale should be birdman, you can spank my little bottom!

  16. I think Micheal Keaton is a real loser poking fun at Batman a legend long before him and a this legend will last longer than a “washed up actor” like him. Show some spirit men.