BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!



Keaton as The Joker: Hell No!
Friday, October 14, 2005, 12:00 PM CENTRAL TIME

© Copyright 2005 William E. Ramey and ON-FILM Entertainment. All rights reserved.

I’ve got to say that Michael Keaton as The Joker in a BATMAN film would be great!

If it were 1988.

But this is 2005 and 1988 was 17 years ago. While this might have worked way back when, it would not today. Say back in ‘88, Tim Burton had cast his two BETTLEJUICE buddies - Keaton and Alec Baldwin - as The Joker and The Batman respectively. I could dig it.

It’s nice to play “what if” when you talk about casting a film. I know many Bat-fans - include this author - have an affinity for Mr. Keaton. And recently, there’s been a rumor floating around that he might be a serious candidate for The Joker in the next BATMAN film.

So here I am today ready to cast my vote in regards to this matter:


Absolutely not. And if you are even thinking about it, Mr. Nolan, Warner Bros. (And I don‘t think that‘s the case), stop immediately.

This has nothing to do with how I feel about Michael Keaton. If that was the case, I’d want him to have the role. I’ve been a fan is his since NIGHT SHIFT back in ‘82. I simply think it would be a huge mistake to cast him in this role.

For one thing it would come off as gimmick casting. Yeah people may think “Cool, Batman vs. Batman!” But once the novelty wore off, it would seem simply a way to draw attention to the film. And like this upcoming sequel - which will be huge in my opinion - needs a gimmick for publicity.

Another thing, Keaton’s my man, but he’s too old for the role. He would actually be older than Jack Nicholson was when he played The Joker in 1989’s BATMAN. Keaton would be around 56 or so during filming, and pushing 60 by the time the third Bat-film in this series goes in front of the camera. For cripe's sake, that was one of the problems with Nicholsn's Joker (Nicholson would have been perfect around the time of THE SHINING). This may be a case of personal bias and opinion, but I don’t see The Joker being 20 some-odd years older than The Batman.

And finally, he’s just not right for the part. This role requires an actor who will totally disappear into “The Joker.” When we see him onscreen, we want to be able to say “That’s The Joker,” not “That’s Michael Keaton as The Joker.” We should hate this character - how can we hate Michael Keaton? I bet none of you really hated him in PACIFIC HEIGHTS, did you?

Think about it this way, did you ever really despise the Nicholson version of the character? Did you ever once not think “Jack Nicholson” when you saw The Joker onscreen in BATMAN? Same thing here.

Some of you may agree with me. Many of you will not. So stop and think about it first - Do you want Keaton for this role because you believe he’s right for it, or do you simply want him for the nostalgia of it?

That’s what I thought.

"Jett" is the creator and editor-in-chief of BATMAN ON FILM and ON-FILM.NET.

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