One Of Michael Keaton's Biggest Fears Almost Prevented Him From Playing Batman

Michael Keaton ("Batman," "Batman Returns") is my favorite Batman. There, I've said it. I have great love for all the other Batsmen, but Keaton is the best and I will fight you on that. But there were several reasons that could've caused us to never see Keaton in the cape and cowl. One of them was the giant fan campaign to get him removed as Bruce Wayne. Yes, even in 1989, fans were toxic, and obviously wrong. The other reason? Michael Keaton was claustrophobic in that suit. Considering what that Batman suit looked like, that makes absolute sense. It doesn't appear particularly comfortable and that material absolutely doesn't breathe. 

Back in 2014, Keaton got together with Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything"), Steve Carell ("Space Force"), Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Power of the Dog"), and Robert Downey Jr. ("Avengers: Endgame") for The LA Times' Hollywood Sessions roundtable series (via Cinemablend) and spoke about what it was like to play Batman in the two Tim Burton-directed films. 

That Rubber Suit Must be Pinchy

According to the site, Downey Jr. talks about the Iron Man suit being comfortable in comparison to superhero suits of old. (Maybe not the Adam West TV show Batman suit. That looked like pajamas.) Keaton said that he didn't get a chance to try on the Batsuit until a few hours before filming started. He said:

"I was very claustrophobic. The first time I was locked in [to the outfit], I thought, 'This is never going to happen, I'm never gonna do it.'"

He reportedly said that he tried to channel his fear into the character and used the claustrophobia as a tool, "because you become very interiorly isolated when you get locked into that thing."

The poor guy had to be rested against a wooden device when he wasn't filming, and couldn't turn his neck. Superhero costumes in general rarely look like they'd be comfy to wear, let alone fight in. Plus there's that whole thing about getting the eye makeup on. Where does one buy that? Would Bruce Wayne go to the local goth shop? Now it's easy with Amazon and all that, but where did a super-wealthy guy go for black eye shadow in 1989? 

As you know, Keaton will reprise his Batman role in "The Flash" and "Batgirl." In October of 2021, he visited "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and talked about returning to the role. He was asked if he still fits in the suit, and he said, "I did. I do ... svelte as ever. Same dimensions, same fitting." When Colbert asked him about what it was like to get back in the suit, he said, "Horrible." Then he laughed and said, "No, it was great. Yeah, it was great." 

Is it though, Michael Keaton? Either way, I for one am absolutely thrilled to see you back in it!