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.
Christopher Nolan has ruined everything.
The success of The Dark Knight - now bested by its own sequel, The Dark Knight Rises - has caused a shift in big-budget movies, particularly in the comic book superhero genre. Its sense of grittiness has so reverberated through Hollywood that more and more films seem to be adapting a “darker is better” attitude.
It is one of the most maligned comic book films of all time. Even in the wake of Batman’s more recent triumphant dominance at the box office and on Flickchart (with his newest film being the highest-ranked so far of 2012, even out-ranking The Avengers), the aftertaste left by Joel Schumacher‘s Batman & Robin is still bitter. Only five movies rank higher (lower?) than Batman & Robin on Flickchart’s list of The Worst Superhero Films of All Time; it’s outranked on the global charts by such big budget duds as Hulk, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider and even Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. And while people have defended Batman Forever when it was chosen as one of Flickchart’s Guilty Pleasures, they’ve trashed its sequel at the same time.
Yet, as much as people like to trash Schumacher’s Bat-films, they actually resulted in a pair of pretty great soundtrack albums. While the soundtrack for B&R bears no chart-topping hit like Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” (partially because of the movie’s reputation?), in many ways, it’s the more interesting listen. And on a personal level, it evokes just as many memories.
In lieu of just one of us writing a review, here’s a cross-section of several Flickchart bloggers’ thoughts on the latest and final chapter of Nolan’s Batman saga. Read the rest of this entry »
In Flickchart terms, “Marvel vs. DC” is the ultimate match-up, made very clear by the fact that the Big Two occupied the two largest booths at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo this year. Marvel’s booth was dominated by a stage with a backdrop of The Avengers release poster, in front of which guests were invited to be photographed with props of Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.
Across the floor, DC Comics was surprisingly light on movie content; The Dark Knight Rises was represented almost entirely by a single, modest placard with the current poster and a TV loop of promo clips and ads that included the movie’s trailer. Where Marvel wants to emphasize the synergy between the printed page and the screen, DC is clearly trying to reassert itself as a comic book publisher and not an idea farm for Hollywood. It was with this dichotomy in mind that I set about exploring the relationship between the comic book industry and film. Read the rest of this entry »