With superhero movies dominating the summer blockbuster slate for more than a decade now, there have been “meta” attempts to subvert the genre, with varying degrees of success.

2009’s well-received indie film Paper Man starred Jeff Daniels as a writer whose imaginary friend was a superhero played by Ryan Reynolds and was more of a gentle comedy than a spoof. Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn’s Super was a violent send-up examining a wanna-be superhero who’s more of a deranged lunatic. Now we have set photos of another project which is currently filming under the radar – Babel director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.

Michael Keaton stars as an actor who was famous for playing an iconic superhero. Now washed-up, he tries to mount a Broadway production, but problems with the egotistical lead actor of the stage play (Edward Norton) – along with his own ego – get in the way. There’s a wealth of images from the set, courtesy of Coming Soon:


The intriguing photos reveal a haggard-looking Keaton and prominently feature what appears to be the titular character, a gaudy, winged superhero in a get-up which resembles a cross between Hawkman and Nite Owl from Watchmen. One photo clearly shows Birdman shadowing Keaton on the street – could it be the alter ego haunting the actor? A dream sequence or flashback of some kind?

The premise to this is interesting, with a Being John Malkovich-like vibe to it, and the notion of the always-welcome Michael Keaton riffing on his famous Batman role sounds fun in of itself. Add director Iñárritu, though, and this could yield something special. The 21 Grams and Amores Perros director is not exactly known for his comic touch – despite a distinct sense of humor that runs through his filmography, which mainly consists of serious, high-caliber dramas.

Still, he’s a fascinating filmmaker whose attention to detail is almost unparalleled. The supporting cast Iñárritu has assembled  is stellar, as well. Besides Norton, Birdman will include Emma Stone as Keaton’s daughter, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, and Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion).

With comic book/superhero movies absolutely everywhere (and not going away anytime soon), more of these meta-fiction-type projects were inevitable. Coming off of his winning turn as the voice of Ken in Toy Story 3, Michael Keaton’s career is on something of an upswing. After basically ditching the spotlight after Batman Returns, his most interesting work has mainly been in offbeat supporting roles (Jackie Brown, The Other Guys), while his leading man work has proven mostly disappointing (White Noise, anyone?).

Keaton will show up in the RoboCop remake and the video game adaptation Need For Speed, but expect Birdman to be the showcase for the actor at his most endearingly weird. There is no official release date yet, but we’ll keep an eye out for details as they become available.

Source: Coming Soon