Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Michael Keaton Reaches New Heights

Elizabeth Both
Staff Writer
Michael Keaton is not Batman anymore but, the one and only Birdman. The Alejandro González Iñarritu film (Babel, 21 Grams-both received Oscar nominations) is revitalizing Michael Keaton’s career with a black comedy that tells the story of an actor, Riggan Thomson-famous for portraying a superhero known as Birdman - tries to direct his own Broadway play. Mostly known for being the first Batman in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Keaton went down a shoddy spiral having small roles in not-so-impactful films into the 2000’s. Besides the beloved Batman franchise directed by the one and only Tim Burton, Keaton starred in the acclaimed comedy-horror flick Beetlejuice (also directed by Burton), the old Christmas based story Jack Frost in the late 90’s, having a part in the hit-Pixar movies Cars and Toy Story 3, and a role in the Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell comedy;The Other Guys. Now its 2014, and Birdman is a chance for Keaton to finally prove to the Academy and audiences all over, that he has been here all along, waiting for the perfect chance to pounce at a fantastic role.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Keaton stated how “in terms of the parallels, I’ve never related less to a character than Riggan”, noting how since he has already played a superhero over twenty years ago, that now he can’t relate to Riggan’s sweaty, “I’m hearing voices from an old movie superhero” attitude. The actor now sixty-three, said in the Entertainment magazine that he doesn’t mind talking about Batman at all; he’s proud of it. Asked if he would do another Batman movie again he said,”If Tim Burton is directing, then in a heartbeat.” After the sequel in 1992, Warner Bros. asked for a new director, bigger and badder supervillains, and a lighter look. Keaton didn’t like the aspect that Batman wanted to be looked at in lighter way, since he believed it was a complicated, brooding character; he finally just said no. Keaton also replied with how since he was the first ever Batman, “Once you get in those suits,they really know what to do with you. It was hard then; it ain’t that hard now.”
Now who would think that Michael Keaton could be a potential Oscar contender twenty years ago? It is, after all, Michael Keaton who was Mr. Mom in 1983. Besides Keaton having revived stardom, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, and the admired Emma Stone are all being praised for their performances in the film. Having filmed Birdman in Spring of 2013 with only thirty days to shoot, the film took on the visual challenge of meaning to appear seamless (one intentional cut in the two hour film). The director,Iñarritu, comments in Entertainment Weekly about that certain way of filming, “I wanted it to feel like reading somebody who’s writing without commas or periods.” The movie flows like water, keeping the audience engaged.  Birdman hits the Hollywood spectrum hard on with showbiz clichés and backstage antics. Oscar nominations are definitely in the works between the spot on cinematography, soundtrack and of course-acting. No need to re-watch Batman Returns again, enjoy the new Michael Keaton; as a bird.

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