Tim Burton’s “Batman” was the highest-grossing movie of 1989. The sequel, “Batman Returns,” was the third-biggest film of 1992. So why did the star of the first two installments, Michael Keaton, turn down the third part of such a successful trilogy? Simple: The script “sucked.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Awards Chatter” podcast, the 65-year-old actor explained why he decided to pass on the film once director Joel Schumacher took over the franchise.
“It sucked”, the actor said of the script. “The script never was great. I didn’t understand why [Schumacher] wanted to do what he wanted to do.”
According to Keaton, he attended “many meetings” to discuss the film, and was “polite up to a point about things.” However, he did not agree with the direction Schumacher wanted to take with the film. “I knew it was in trouble when he said, ‘Why does everything have to be so dark?’” the actor said.
After Keaton walked away from the franchise, actor Val Kilmer got the leading role in 1995’s “Batman Forever.” Two years later, George Clooney played the hero in the 1997 film “Batman and Robin”.
As Keaton explained to THR, his career took a hit the years following his departure from the “Batman” franchise. However, the actor has found success in recent years with roles in such successful films as “Spotlight” and Alejandro González Iñarritu’s “Birdman,” which earned Keaton an Oscar nomination as Best Actor.