There’s been a lot of chatter lately about a certain, present day star having reservations about his involvement with a new Batman movie; Reservations that have to do with the quality of the script. This isn’t the first time a Bat actor has had to choose between fight or flight, of course, as Michael Keaton famously came to that fork in the road when Warner Bros. asked him to do Batman Forever.
The actor had just finished working on two Batman films with Tim Burton, and now he was asked to do a third, but with a different director. Joel Schumacher was hired to direct Batman Forever, and Keaton was seemingly going to don the cowl again…until a key moment occurred. Similar to where we find ourselves in 2017, Keaton says that script issues were why he bailed, and then he got even more specific than that:
“[The script] sucked. The script never was good. I couldn’t understand why he wanted to do what he wanted to do. … I knew it was in trouble when [Schumacher] said, ‘Why does everything have to be so dark?’“
Yup, that question was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Keaton. After spending years creating a gothic, mature, psychologically rich world for Bruce Wayne to explore, Schumacher wanted to come in and lighten up the mood with camp (and nipples). That’s when Keaton knew it was time to move on.
The lead role in Batman Forever would instead by played by Val Kilmer, who then opted to bail as well, serving as a one-and-done Dark Knight to avoid being in Batman and Robin. It would appear that when it comes to everyone’s favorite Caped Crusader, the actors who play him continuously reach a crossroads, or a dead end.