Michael Keaton to Play a Former Superhero Movie Star in ‘Birdman’
In a brilliantly self-referential bit of casting, former Batman Michael Keaton is set to play the lead in Birdman, an upcoming comedy from director Alejandro González Iñárritu. The story focuses on a former actor who once played a major superhero on screen, as he attempts to reclaim lost glories by kickstarting a Broadway play.
Keaton, of course, played the title character in Tim Burton‘s Batman and Batman Returns, and thus has a bit of real-world experience to draw on for the role. Though he’s always been working, Keaton has never been quite as big as he was in the late ’80s working with Burton, but he’s had a minor renaissance lately with roles in films like The Other Guys and Pixar‘s Cars and Toy Story 3. He recently wrapped filming a villainous role in director José Padilha‘s upcoming remake of RoboCop.
Also appearing in Birdman will be Emma Stone as Keaton’s daughter, who is fresh out of rehab and now serving as his assistant. Stone is currently shooting The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and attached to star in Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak.
Naomi Watts, fresh from a Best Actress Oscar nomination for The Impossible, has previously worked with director Iñárritu in 21 Grams, and will feature in Birdman as an actress in the Broadway play, while Zack Galifianakis (next appearing on screen in The Hangover Part III) will play the film’s “conniving” producer.
Yet to be cast are the key roles of Keaton’s ex-wife and the play’s leading man whose ego threatens to derail the production.
“Comedy” is not a word readily associated with Iñárritu, the director of such films as Babel and Amores Perros. Though touted as a lighter film, Birdman is sure to feature its more dramatic elements as well. Iñárritu co-wrote and will co-produce the film, which is expected to start production in April.