“The process of identifying as belonging to a particular generation
This may be the year for Michael Keaton, the year he is finally recognized for being the great actor that he is. Keaton is a lock for a Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards, and many believe the frontrunner to win for his portrayal of a washed-up actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown in Birdman. If anyone can play a man on the edge, it’s Keaton, who is often underrated because of his poor film choices.
Here are 12 cool things about the man so many of us grew up on as Batman.
1. Keaton’s real name is Michael Douglas. Of course, he decided to change his last name to Keaton when he decided to get into acting. It seems there was already someone named Michael Douglas out there in Hollywood.
2. He started his career working as a stagehand on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, where he operated a segment called “Picture, Picture.” In 2004, he produced a documentary called Fred Rogers: America’s Favorite Neighbor.
3. Keaton is a bit of a rancher. He has a home in Pacific Palisades plus ranches in Santa Barbara, California, and Montana. The 1000 acre Montana ranch, where he grows hay and raises cattle, features a four-bedroom cedar-and-stone ranch house.
4. Tim Burton cast him in the title role of Batman because he thought that Keaton was the only actor who could believably portray someone who has the kind of darkly obsessive personality that the character has. There was a great deal of fan anger over his selection, forcing the studio to release an advance trailer both to show that Keaton could do the role well and that the movie would not be a campy parody like the TV show.
5. Keaton was considered for a great number of roles and was replaced on a few others. He passed on roles in Ghostbusters, was replaced by Jeff Daniels on The Purple Rose Of Cairo, almost got the job of Jack Crawford in Silence of The Lambs (which went to Scott Glenn), and was in consideration for the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
6. He was originally to play the role of Dr. Jack Shephard in the TV show Lost, with the understanding that the character would be killed off early on in the show. Keaton later had to walk away from the part when the creators decided not to kill off the doctor. Matthew Fox ended up playing the character.
7. In Speechless, Keaton appeared with Christopher Reeve, who played DC Comics’ other most popular comic-book hero, Superman.
8. Keaton wanted to return for a third Batman film with Tim Burton, and wanted the story to be an origin story much like Batman Begins turned out to be.
9. Keaton is a Pittsburgh native and a die hard Steelers and Pirates fan.
10. His portrayal of Ray Nicolette crossed directing and story boundaries. He first appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, then again as Nicolette in Steven Soderbergh’s non-sequel, Out of Sight.
11. He says Beetlejuice is his favorite movie that he’s made.
12. Keaton dated Courtney Cox from 1989-1995.