Unfortunately for me I wasn’t around yet to feel and join in the excitement of the first live-action movie of Batman. I was born a couple years after that and the first Batman movie I ever saw was,(shudders), Batman and Robin. I know, it’s okay, I’ve moved on. But of course I’ve gone back and watched Michael Keaton don the Batman suit, battle The Joker and like the actors who followed after him I was given a sense more or less of how Batman should be portrayed. The actors either rise or fall to the occasion, and now “Batfleck” set to make his way to the screen in 2016.
During a press junket for his upcoming movie Robocop Keaton answered many questions about what was it like during his time as The Caped Crusader. He said the following:
“[Joel Kinnamen] probably won’t get credit for the degree of difficulty that was required [to play Robocop]. A long time ago, when they were asking me when I did the first “Batman,” I made a joke, but I was actually serious, you know. I just worked the suit, man. I let that suit go to work for me — and that’s kind of what you have to do… I’m very claustrophobic, and we didn’t even know that the suit was going to work at all until literally, like, I think hours before we were about to start shooting the suit. We had shot a lot of the Bruce Wayne stuff — which was the key, by the way, it was. I never worried about the Batman thing — the way in was Bruce Wayne, that was it for me. That was it.”
Keaton went out to describe the challenge actors give to themselves when it comes to wearing a full body rubber suit, and how to find new ways to approach roles and get in the mindset necessary.
“You just take all of that stuff, that suit, all of that stuff that suit was giving me, and I said, “Oh, I got it — I know how to do this, now.” It’s odd how those things happen to actors — that thing you think, “I have no idea how to do this,” [and] something will happen in your life, or something, that comes up and you just kind of get it.
I don’t know how you get it, but actors are kind of pretty extraordinary in that regard. I think it’s fear.”
Finally he spoke on the adversity that came with the stiffness of the suit and the mental strain it had on him.
“So when we got in [the suit], I went, “Oh, I’m in trouble.” Because you couldn’t get out of it; the second one, you could kind of get out of, but this thing was wrapped [around me] and it didn’t totally work… This whole thing [where I moved my whole body like a statue] came out of — I mean, I’ll take some credit for it, but really, it was practical! It really came out of the first time I had to react to something, and this thing was stuck to my face and somebody says something to Batman and I go like this [turning his head] and the whole thing goes, [rriipp]! There was a big fucking hole over here. So I go, well, I’ve got to get around that, because we’ve got to shoot this son of a bitch, so I go, “You know what, Tim [Burton]? He moves like this [like a statue]!”
We’ve all probably read somewhere down the lines of the difficulties Christian Bale had with wearing the suit for the first time in Batman Begins, that was years down the line from Keaton’s time in the cape so you would think they thought of a better material for Bale to wear or something like that, but it still wasn’t even comfortable! I don’t know about you but it makes me respect Keaton’s work even more.