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Michael Keaton Turned Down $15 Million For ‘Batman Forever,’ Says Tim Burton Invented The “Dark Superhero Thing”

Michael Keaton Turned Down $15 Million For 'Batman Forever,' Says Tim Burton Invented The "Dark Superhero Thing"

Michael Keaton, better known to some as Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is donning a cape and cowl again in this week’s upcoming release, “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” Sort of. In the film, directed and co-written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a washed up actor most famous for his portrayal of a popular superhero, struggling to relaunch his career with a turn on Broadway. The film draws obvious connections to Keaton as Batman in the Tim Burton series of the caped crusader franchise. Naturally, Keaton’s been answering a ton of questions about his time as the Dark Knight.

SlashFilm recaps an interview the actor did with Entertainment Weekly, in which he says he would have reprised his role in “Batman Forever” had Burton remained on board, but it wasn’t meant to be. “Tim, in movies, really invented the whole dark superhero thing. He started everything, and some of the guys who have done these movies since then don’t say that, and they’re wrong,” Keaton praised his pal. But that wasn’t what the studio was going for. “I always knew it was a big machine with a big studio and corporation and board behind it. But the simple answer was, it wasn’t any good. I was nice. I said to them, ‘This is a really interesting character with a dual personality.’ I tried to make them understand. But when someone says to you, ‘Does it have to be so dark?’…I thought, Are we talking about the same character? So finally I just said no.” He also turned down a startling amount of money in the process, as the studio reportedly offered him $15 million to reprise his role.

Now before comic fans get too upset over Keaton’s “dark superhero” comment, as he says, he’s obviously referring to the world of movies, because yes, gritty superheroes have been on paper for a long time.

Perhaps most surprisingly, though, Keaton revealed in a CBS Sunday Profile that ‘Birdman” wasn’t written for him or even with him in mind. “I probably relate less to this character than anybody I’ve ever done, that’s the irony,” Keaton said.

Check out the full profile for more Keaton, and see him as Riggan when ‘Birdman’ flies on October 17th.

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