Michael Keaton on TV roles, ‘Dopesic’ and Batman revisited

Michael Keaton There is a reputation for saying no. He’s not sure how it got started – but he knows about it. In fact, he almost said “no”dopesic,

When his agent first told him about the project, he didn’t think he would have the time because he had commitments outside the country. Then he was told that it was coming from the creator Danny Strong And took a look at the script.

“Then it was real. The writing was good, we discussed and then we were filming,” says Keaton, who had already signed on to do a film in London, so all of her scenes were put together in a short period. was pushed along.

“I was told that people referred to me as ‘no doctor,’ because apparently, I didn’t say much. I don’t think I really said that much. The things I said no to, They had a reason. It wasn’t that I was above it. It didn’t fit into my life at all, or I didn’t think I could do the job very well,” he explains. “Many times I’ve looked at something and thought, ‘There are probably 50 people who can do better than me.’ But I’d never done anything like that.”

Michael Keaton Variety Emmy Extra Edition

After agreeing to join the series, Strong began writing more episodes.

“We were so lucky to get to star in ‘Dopesic’ because Michael Keaton is one of the most talented actors in the business,” the writer says. “He exudes an innate depth and kindness and has an incredible emotional range that was perfect for capturing the ups and downs of Dr. Phoenix’s complex journey.”

At the time, Keaton was working on other projects and then eventually sent him new scripts. “I realized, ‘Wow, boy, this is going to be a lot harder than I thought.’ But I was already in.”

The Hulu limited series, based on Beth Massey’s non-fiction book, “Dopesic: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America,” examines the horrific opioid crisis and its impact on so many people; For Keaton, it’s personally she lost a nephew to drug addiction.

“It’s so sad, but remember years ago when people finally started saying, ‘Well, we’re all affected by cancer because it touches everybody somewhere.’ At first it sounds like an exaggerated statement. Then you realize, wait a minute, it’s true. Well, it’s like this with the opioid crisis now,” he says. “And fentanyl is a whole other thing. . I mean, he’s a terrible stepchild or something. ,

As he began reading more episodes and the book, there were moments he felt “too much on the nose” and pitted “the good guys versus the bad guys”. So, as a producer, he went to Strong and spoke. Then, the listener will send Keaton an article or proof of how intense the situation is. “I’ll go, ‘Okay, well, maybe that’s not an exaggeration.'”

For the audience, it’s hard not to be upset or annoyed by how Crisis played out. He had to put any of these feelings behind him for Keaton.

“Overall – and this is cynical and sad commentary – I’m not surprised by almost anything. You can spend your whole life angry, but it will bog you down to the point that you are ineffective as a citizen ,” he says. “That’s not to say, I still don’t get really angry sometimes. But it doesn’t really get you anywhere.”

Luckily, she finds things that make her happy every day; He enjoys reading newspapers – usually three different if not two – Watches a little TV everyday. Right now, it’s Apple TV+’s “severance,” which he says is “obsessed.”

While the actor has appeared on TV several times over the years, “Dopesic” was Keaton’s first series in which he starred from beginning to end. So, was it a fun process?

“Ish,” he says with a laugh. “At one point I said to Danny, ‘I’m never doing this again.'”

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Michael Keaton won a SAG Award and is now up for an Emmy for “Dopesic.”
Antony Platt / Hulu

However, he knows the show will “give birth to other issue-oriented series”, which makes him happy. In fact, he’s in talks for another project based on a book he’s “considering”—but isn’t ready to share any more.

“I really admire all people who do those hour-long shows that are years and years and years. It’s hard to do, except they get really rich!” He says before cracking down and bringing in his old friend Mark Harmon, who led “NCIS” for 18 years and was one of the top-paid TV actors at the time.

Keaton says the two played softball together, and that they once bought a 1956 Ford pickup truck from Harmon that they had restored.

“Every time I think of him, I think, ‘How much money does he have? He must have that much money!'” jokes Keaton. “I thought, ‘He should have given me that truck. I should never have paid for it!'”

So, does this mean that the movie star will make more TV shows in the future? It is definitely possible.

“I guess I’m too lazy. I don’t know if I have the stamina for it. But I’m late to the game — pound for pound, the writing on television is so much better,” he says. Given that it is understandable that financially, people would want to stay home and watch TV.

But still, it’s about the script. If it’s good writing, suffice it to say yes.

“It used to be about, Have I done this before? If I got a little scared, or was like, ‘Wow, I don’t know if I can do this,’ I got a lot of encouragement from it,” he says. Huh. “In the beginning, you could kind of explore and experiment. If something was great, you’d say yes to see if you could play it. Now and for many years now, it’s pretty simple: writing is good or not good. And then you take a chance on the director. It’s not complicated.”

Another thing that isn’t complicated? His pure love for film – and the feeling of walking into a movie theater. “I sit there and go, ‘Oh man, I forgot how cool this is.’ There is nothing like it. It will never happen.”

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Michael Keaton in ‘Batman Returns’.
© Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

And so far, the film is where Keaton’s career flourished. He was Jack in 1983’s “Mr.” Mother.” Five years later, he became Beetlejuice for the Tim Burton film of the same name in 1988. And then, a year later, he went on to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in “Batman” and later, “Batman Returns”. He again teamed up with Burton for the film. He opted out of the third film when Burton was no longer attached.

Almost 30 years later, he returned the suit for the upcoming “Flash” film. “It must be good, and there must be a reason,” he Told Diversity Last year While discussing what he would have to do back.

So, we followed up on that: What’s the reason?

It turns out, the answer is quite simple: “It looked like fun.”

“I was curious what it would be like after so many years. I’m not doing it that much — obviously, some of that — but I was curious about it, oddly enough, socially. This whole thing is gigantic. They totally have their own worlds,” he says of the DC and Marvel character universes. “So, I like to look at it as an outsider, ‘Holy Moly!’”

Keaton credits director Richard Donner and star Christopher Reeve with igniting the superhero world with 1978’s “Superman.” But Burton, he insisted, “changed everything.”

“I know people don’t believe it, that I’ve never seen a full version of those movies — any Marvel movie, any other. And I’m not saying I don’t watch it because I’m highbrow — me Believe it! It’s not like that,” he says. “It’s just that I see very few things. I start watching something, and think it’s great and I watch three episodes, but I have other crap to do!”

What really attracted him was the big picture of superhero storytelling and the fact that no one ever knew it would become what it is today. Plus, he noted, “the writing was really, really cool!”

“So I thought, why not? It’s good to get into it and I look forward to seeing if I can pull it off.”

Since Keaton hasn’t seen other superhero movies—there have been seven actors who played the Caped Crusader since then—he admits it was a little confusing to dive back into that world.

Little has changed since Bruce Wayne last played him, we remind the actor.

After a brief pause, he replies with a smile, “Not mine.”

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