An American actor, director, producer, singer/songwriter and comedian whose blue eyes will burn into your soul. Nah, he's actually a pretty easy goin' guy.
His real name is Michael John Douglas, but since there was already a Michael Douglas
in the Screen Actors Guild, which doesn't permit doubles on its rolls, he chose to use the last name of Keaton partly due to Buster Keaton
and partly because he heard the name and thought it sounded good (he has never legally changed his name, though).
At the start of his film career Keaton was best known for starring in comedies such as Mr. Mom
, Johnny Dangerously
, and Tim Burton
, although he would become notable for his range in both comedy and drama when he was cast again by Burton as the eponymous character
in his then latest gig, Batman
, which was to be a return to the character's roots as a grim avenger of the night
. Fans did not open up to the casting at first and sent letters to Warner Bros.
expressing their disdain by citing that Keaton had only done comedy and was too short and too "ugly" to play Batman. A quick trailer was released by WB, showcasing a glimpse of Keaton's badassery
in the role, and most fans were won over and bought tickets. Needless to say, the film was a huge commercial success and was the biggest money-maker of 1989.
Keaton and Burton returned to the franchise with Batman Returns
; while it still raked in the dough, it didn't do as well as the first, which could be attributed to the outrage over it being even darker than its predecessor. Keaton was initally attached to Batman Forever
and even did some costume testing, but when Warner Bros. demoted Burton to producer and Keaton looked at the Lighter and Softer
screenplay that got the thumbs-up from new director Joel Schumacher, he left the franchise and was replaced
by Val Kilmer. Keaton ultimately proved to be the
live-action Batman above all others until (or, some say, in spite of) Christopher Nolan's 2005-2012 reboot trilogy
starring Christian Bale.
He's also dabbled in directing, with his first film The Merry Gentleman
appearing at the Sundance Festival in 2008, and he's done a few small other things since then; including being the executive producer for the films The Last Time
- in which he also starred - and Body Shots
, as well as performing the songs "Don't Lose Your Faith
" (which he also wrote the lyrics to) and "Frosty The Snowman
" from the soundtrack for Jack Frost
With no signs of retiring any time soon, Keaton is keeping his roles diverse by alternating between comedy and drama, and he lent his vocal talents to a Ken doll
in Toy Story 3
. Keaton's appeal is put it best in this article
in The Onion
He has said that he would be interested in reprising his iconic role of Betelgeuse
, but nothing more seems to have come of it
, and the film seems to be stuck in Development Hell
He has made a major
comeback with the critically acclaimed Birdman
, with people calling it "the best movie of 2014", and saying Keaton should get the Oscar for "Best Actor" (and in fact it has been nominated for nine
Oscars, with Keaton getting a nom for "Best Actor"). The film has won over a hundred awards
Around the same time that the film came out, it was revealed that he was being sued for "ruining"
"The Merry Gentleman", with the case possibly going to trial
in the spring of 2015. Popular opinion is that Keaton was nothing but a perfect gentleman
on set, and the producers are just looking to cash in on his fame. It was announced on December 23, 2014 that the judge had decided in favour of Keaton
and dismissed the claims.
Tropes that apply to Michael Keaton:
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Oh yes. Had a bit of a scandal during the filming for "A Merry Gentleman", resulting in him being sued for not hiring an editor during the production of the film, abandoning the editing in Santa Monica to go fly fishing in Montana and he "had a stand-off with producers at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival when it looked as though his cut of the film wouldn't be screened."
- Actually, this is apparently not true - there is a video of him showing up at Sundance and making a specific point to thank everyone involved with the movie.
- An interview with Keaton began thusly: "When I show up at Amelia's Espresso & Panini in Santa Monica at 9:15 a.m. ó 15 minutes before our prearranged time ó Michael Keaton is already waiting, his New York Times mostly read, two-thirds of his first latte gone. Despite its precious-sounding name, the cafť has a mom-and-pop quality to it; after I get my cappuccino, the genial owner sees I'm sitting with Keaton and throws me a well-worn: 'You're hanging with this guy? If I'd known that I'd have charged you double Ö '"
- Cool Old Guy
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of his characters are this, and so is he in real life. Some gems come from his Twitter:
"Scientists AMAZINGLY say-BILLIONS of earth-like planets in the Milky Way. 7 of them have Starbucks & they found a pair of Dockers on another".
-astronomers discover HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of planets—23 of them get Oprah. 161 "watch" Ice Road Truckers"."
"Tweet from my horse- no joke.a first anywhere?" (and then a few moments later) "At a full gallop while enjoying a lovely if spicey fusili bolegnese btw"
- Hidden Depths: He originally wanted to be a journalist, and he's known for being one of the most well-spoken, polite and intelligent men in Hollywood. Even people who don't like his movies agree that he's a great guy.
- He said he doesn't like watching his own movies because "When you hear yourself doing that thing or using this trick, you really start to dislike yourself. I always felt like if I made a movie every year or something that people would get bored to death with me. I assumed people are like me, and I get bored with me."
- He later commented "Itís great to make your own choices but thereís a price to pay. I couldíve made more money or been more famous. I could be the current groovy guy. You donít want to lose your status, but I was never willing to preserve it by doing things I didnít want to do. I put myself in a position where the studios were saying, ĎItís not obvious what we should do with him.í Iím not calling them stupid. Itís not their job to figure out where to put me. Hey, itís a business. They know I make X amount of money when I play a certain guy, so they want me to play that guy, whoever he is. But my take is: Iíve done that, and if I do it again Iíll end up blowing my brains out. I always thought that was smart. I never wanted to play the short game."
- He's written several articles about things from sports to his love of traveling.
- Old Shame: His attempt at stand-up comedy, according to him.
- One of Us: He's a well known Pittsburgh Pirates fan, is a semi regular poster on Twitter and Instagram, loves fishing, cooking, riding his horses, and playing with his dogs. He also recently admitted he's a fan of Katy Perry.
- Playing Against Type: He used to be known as a mainly comedic actor, but then a little film called Batman came along...
- Prematurely Bald: Both he and his son have receding hairlines (Keaton moreso than his son).
- And by extension - Bald of Awesome. He's not quite there yet, but he's definitely awesome.