Michael Keaton reveals how Jack Nicholson convinced him not to get buff for Batman

Michael Keaton reveals how Jack Nicholson convinced him not to get buff for Batman

It’s become commonplace for actors starring in superhero movies to ‘beef up’ before popping on their spandex super suits. Not every MCU and DCEU actor feels the need to get in shape, though, and it seems that attitude is contagious. Jack Nicholson, for example, didn’t get in shape to play the Joker, and he managed to convince Michael Keaton he didn’t need to get buff either.

During a recent appearance on Jimmy Fallon, Keaton admitted that his Batman co-star had been a bad influence. “Hey man, here’s the thing I learned. I was so stupid to think, you know when I was first doing [Batman] I got into really good shape,” he said. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of this the first time. It’s easier to be really skinny and not work out because you have more room to work around.”

Apparently, Keaton realised this after Nicholson caught him exercising on the set of Tim Burton’s Batman. “I’m getting ready. I’m working the bag and doing all this stuff, and Jack Nicholson, who’s playing the Joker, walks by, and he looks at me, and he goes ‘what are you doing?’,” the actor recalled. “So I said, ‘working out’, and he goes, ‘what for?’ and I stopped sweating and I went ‘I don’t know’. Then he just walked away, and I thought ‘he’s right’ because I’ve got the suit and the suit makes me look good.”

Clearly, Keaton’s decision to get skinny instead of buff didn’t have a huge impact on the action movie. His first outing as the Dark Knight was a critical and financial hit, earning over $400 million at the international box office. The film spun off three direct sequels, although Keaton only returned for one more before being replaced by Val Kilmer.

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The Spotlight star revealed this week what convinced him to don Batman’s cape and cowl once again. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said he’s always wanted to take another crack at playing Batman and really “nail that motherf*cker”.

“Frankly, in the back of my head, I always thought, ‘I bet I could go back and nail that motherf*cker,’” Keaton said. “And so I thought, ‘Well, now that they’re asking me, let me see if I can pull that off.’” Keaton also said he loved The Flash script, which was written by Birds of Prey’s Christina Hodson. That said, he admits to being a little confused by the multiversal elements of the science fiction movie, joking it took a few read-throughs before the story clicked.

The Flash is currently filming and will hit theatres on November 4, 2022. If you need more DC superheroes in your life, check out our guide on how to watch the Arrowverse in order.

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Tom Percival

Editor

Updated: Aug 20, 2021


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