Perhaps the movie I’m most looking forward to this fall is “Birdman,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s tale of a former movie star (best known for playing a superhero) who tries to relaunch his career by directing and starring in a Broadway play. Michael Keaton, the actor formerly known as Batman, stars in “Birdman” — art imitating life? Maybe not. From a vivid profile of Keaton in today’s New York Times:
“When I finished the script, I knew that Michael was not the choice or option, he was the guy,” said Mr. Iñárritu, the filmmaker known for “Babel,”“21 Grams” and “Amores Perros.” Mr. Keaton, he said, had the emotional range and Everyman charm to offset the moody, narcissistic Riggan. “He’s one of the few guys in the world who has worn that cape,” he continued, referring to the 1989 and 1992 “Batman” films. “The authority and the relatability that he gave, all those were essential.”
But when they met over dinner to discuss working together, “the first thing he said to me was, ‘Are you trying to make fun of me?’ ” Mr. Iñárritu recalled. Two bottles of wine later, he had gained Mr. Keaton’s confidence. The film, Mr. Iñárritu said, may fit Mr. Keaton, but it was inspired by the director’s own life.
I would have loved to have heard that conversation over those two bottles, wouldn’t you? The whole story, which also explains what Keaton’s post-Batman life has been like (in part, hanging out in Montana and blogging on ESPN), is well worth a read; find it here. “Birdman” opens in Seattle October 24.