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Jack Nicholson convinved Michael Keaton not to get buff for Batman

Jack Nicholson shared some pearls of wisdom with Michael Keaton that convinced him not to work out 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 an 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.”


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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.