Actor Michael Keaton, who starred in the last two Oscar winners for Best Picture — “Spotlight” in 2015 and “Birdman” in 2014 — revealed in an interview for The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” Podcast why he left the high-profile “Batman” franchise.
After starring in 1989’s “Batman” and 1992’s “Batman Returns” — which THR notes “spawned a massive wave of dark comic book adaptations” — Keaton was offered 1995’s “Batman Forever,” but opted out of the franchise. He explained his reason in two words, saying of the script he was shown for the movie: “It sucked.”
THR notes that director Tim Burton, with whom Keaton made “Beetlejuice” before collaborating on the two “Batman” movies, stepped aside after “Batman Returns.” Enter Joel Schumacher, who had a much different vision for the franchise.
Keaton elaborates in the interview: “I knew it was in trouble when he [Schumacher] said, ‘Why does everything have to be so dark?'”
Keaton was replaced in the role of Batman and Bruce Wayne by Val Kilmer.