When it was first announced that a “Beetlejuice” sequel was in the works last month there was concern. Not only is Tim Burton‘s 1988 film an unassailable classic (of sorts) there is only one person to play the role and his name is Michael Keaton. But with vague word that the movie would be “advancing the storyline of the original” we worried about the direction this thing was going in and whether or not some ambitious young actor would try and take over the lead. But rest assured fans, as writers David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith are promising that if everything goes according to plan this will be a real deal sequel that will see Keaton himself reprise one of his most beloved characters.
“We’re not remaking ‘Beetlejuice.’ People have been very angry about that,” Katzenberg emphatically stated to EW about the project that’s still in “concept phase” before his writing pal elaborated on their approach to the follow up more than two decades later.
“When Warner Bros. came to us about it, we said the only way we’d do it if we got Tim [Burton’s] blessing and involvement, and we got that, and the star of the movie has to be Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice, and it’s a true continuation 26 years later,” Grahame-Smith said. “Not just throwing him in as a cameo going, ‘Hey, it’s me. I endorse this movie.’ We’re not there yet [with Keaton] because we don’t have a film to present to him.”
And there is no doubt that Burton has been impressed with these guys (particularly Grahame-Smith). Burton is one of the producers behind the adaptation of Grahame-Smith’s book “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” and the writer recently worked on the script for “Dark Shadows.” So the blessing from Burton seems to follow a genuine appreciation for his work. As for Keaton, while he hasn’t exactly had a major box office hit since “White Noise,” he hasn’t been begging for work either and last year, he gave a memorable voice turn in “Toy Story 3” as Ken. So we’re glad the people behind this sequel at least recognize the fact that the secret weapon to the sequel is Keaton himself. And while we’re cautiously optimistic about a return to the world of “Beetlejuice” (let’s hope there’s also room for Winona Ryder), if they can work in some TLC references, that would be awesome.