The problem that the likeable young man has is known from dozens of romantic comedies – he has hidden his identity from the woman he loves (and with whom he has slept), not telling her who he really is. And because he also whispered that he would be leaving for a few days, she is particularly offended and angry. So now he comes to her to make everything clear that he has a rose with him.
“You know,” he begins, somewhat awkwardly, “people have different sides to their personality. Sometimes someone actually leads a different life …” She suspects the worst – he’s married! No, he appeases, pulls off his coat, rubs his chin and tries again. “Look, my life is really … complex. You know, a normal person gets up, goes down the stairs, eats breakfast, kisses someone goodbye and goes to work …” The doorbell rings.
It’s a superb scene, played intimately and comically by Michael Keaton and Kim Basinger. The young man is the millionaire Bruce Wayne, the young woman is the photographer Vicki Vale. What Wayne wants to confess to her is that he is out in the night as Batman, the fighter for justice, the bat man who unsettles Gotham City, especially the gangsters and chaos. A scene from Tim Burton’s first “Batman” film, 1989. Whoever rings the doorbell is the uncouth mean Joker (Jack Nicholson), but Wayne seems almost happy about the interruption.
With the Batman, Michael Keaton became an overnight superstar and is still popular today, on his seventieth birthday. A bipolar superhero fifteen years before Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. Burton had to push Keaton through against the opposition of producers and studio people who were not quite convinced of the quiet Keaton. In the years after this great success, he tried hard to get serious roles again, so the attention was of course less. He didn’t want to make the third Batman movie because Tim Burton was no longer there. Val Kilmer and George Clooney then came to the train.
Michel Keaton was born on September 4, 1951, as Michael Douglas – because there was already an actor with this name, he changed to Michael Keaton for the Actor’s Guild. He has had a large ranch in Montana for decades, where he often goes fishing and hunting – classic Trump territory. He himself supported Hillary Clinton in the election campaign, and later Joe Biden. He produced one of his last films, “Worth”, for Netflix, through a compensation fund for the September 11th Opera, with co-producers including the Obamas.
At Tarantino he played passionately unhappy
Keaton started with stand-up comedy and the legendary neighborhood family series by Fred Rogers. In 1988 the first team work with Tim Burton, “Beetlejuice”, a story from a haunted house, with crazy ghost characters and helpless deceased, came fully improvised. Keaton was allowed to let off steam unrestrained, a little later also literary, as Dogberry in the Shakespeare film “Much Ado About Nothing” by Kenneth Branagh.
He was a drug addict in rehab in “Clean and Sober,” a CIA man in “American Assassin,” department head of the Boston Globewho exposed urban priesthood abuse in Spotlight. Also impressive is his drug cop in Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown”, who likes to run around with his motorcycle helmet under his arm and during the Good cop, bad cop-Play a little bit in love with Pam Grier in the title role – he’s unhappy in an incredibly passionate way.
And he was Ray Kroc, in “The Founder”, who moves across the country as a salesman for milkshake blenders, teams up with two brothers who have a great concept of how to serially feed the American people with burgers and fries. He then pushes them out of the company, but keeps their name because the McDonald’s, is simply more attractive and American than his, Kroc. You know, he says, contracts are like hearts. They are made to be broken.
In 2014 he merged the two Keaton sides in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Power of Cluelessness)” by Alejandro González Iñárritu, impersonating an actor who had great success as a superhero “Birdman” with Cape, now one piece after one on Broadway Wants to bring out a short story by Raymond Carver – somehow but no longer sure how he could make the new jump. There was a Golden Globe for this performance and an Oscar nomination. And in “The Flash”, which should start next year, Keaton is back as Batman, the film whirls various parallel universes together, so that Michael Keaton’s older Batman appears next to Ben Affleck’s.