Michael Keaton Explains Why He Had To Walk Away From BATMAN FOREVER After Talks With Director Joel Schumacher

The Flash star Michael Keaton has opened up on why his meetings with filmmaker Joel Schumacher helped him realise he wouldn't be a good fit to play Bruce Wayne in Batman Forever. Read on for details...

For many DC fans, Michael Keaton remains the best big screen Batman. He played the Dark Knight in Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns, but didn't return for Batman Forever, a campy effort from the late Joel Schumacher that took the franchise in a more commercially friendly direction. 

All those toys were based on the likeness of Val Kilmer rather than Keaton, of course, and the actor has now opened up on what led to him walking away from a role he's since become synonymous with.

Explaining on the Backstage podcast (via The Playlist) that it "was always Bruce Wayne [and] never Batman" that attracted him to those early movies, Keaton went on to recall why he couldn't swap an exploration of what made the billionaire dress up as a bat every night for a campy, breezy adventure. "[With] the director who directed the third one, I said, ‘I just can’t do it,'" he says. "And one of the reasons I couldn’t do it was—and you know, he’s a nice enough man, he’s passed away, so I wouldn’t speak ill of him even if he were alive—he, at one point, after more than a couple of meetings where I kept trying to rationalize doing it and hopefully talking him into saying I think we don’t want to go in this direction, I think we should go in this direction. And he wasn’t going to budge."

"But I remember one of the things that I walked away going, ‘Oh boy, I can’t do this.’ He asked me, ‘I don’t understand why everything has to be so dark and everything so sad,’ and I went, ‘Wait a minute, do you know how this guy got to be Batman? Have you read...I mean, it’s pretty simple.'"

Batman Forever didn't receive the same level of acclaim as its predecessors despite memorable performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey. Batman and Robin, meanwhile, was a disaster that killed the franchise until Christopher Nolan stepped in for a reboot with 2005's Batman Begins.

Now, Keaton is preparing to reprise the role of Bruce Wayne in The Flash and will then make the leap to Batgirl to serve as Barbara Gordon's mentor in a rebooted version of Gotham City. How much those movies will give him the opportunity to explore the Caped Crusader is hard to say, but it definitely sounds like there are plans for his Batman to become a key part of the main DCEU moving forward.

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