Talent isn’t always recognized or appreciated. You have to know the right people, be somewhere at the right time, be on your “A” game, and impress the right crowd. Michael Keaton is still Batman for many people out there. He’s an amazing talent that simply got lost in the shuffle, just like many others. He was Tim Burton’s Johnny Depp before Mr. Depp came into the picture. After memorable performances in Clean and Sober, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, and Jackie Brown, he kind of fell off the radar. All of a sudden, people forget about this talented actor, and the young guns rose up to take his spot.
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Oscar-nominated director of Amores Perros, Babel, and 21 Grams, chose Keaton for the starring role in his latest project: Birdman. Everyone gets a second chance, and this may just be Mr. Keaton’s opportunity to shine again and say “ya’ll must’ve forgot” through a captivating, hilarious, and heartfelt performance that he’s definitely capable of giving. Just like Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (nope, not Iron Man) was for Robert Downey, Jr. and The Wrestler was for Mickey Rourke, Birdman might just be the second wind for Keaton’s career. If it’s not, at the very least we’ll get to see him in a lead role again, lighting up the screen.
Now, this isn’t Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law nor is it Chris “Birdman” Andersen of the Miami Heat. It’s a film that tells a story about a has-been actor who once played an iconic superhero, and is struggling to overcome his personal problems while trying to reignite his past glory through a performance in a Broadway play. What better actor could Iñárritu have chosen? Keaton became a star playing Bruce Wayne/Batman, even when there were plenty of doubts as to whether he could pull it off. The results: he more than held his own against Jack Nicholson, and came back to do the sequel. He’s been around since then, but he’s far from being a household name. The trailer for this film just oozes a “if you don’t know me, you will” comeback feel.
A dark comedy, Birdman will be opening this year’s Venice Film Festival, and will be competing. In addition to Michael Keaton, the film also stars Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Ryan. It boasts a stellar cast, a fantastic director, and an amazing lead actor that appears to be hungry once again. It could be a triumph or a beautiful failure. All I can say is that I’m very eager to find out.
Fox Searchlight has released a teaser trailer, which you can check out below: