Michael Keaton Batman

Batman: Michael Keaton Recalls Jack Nicholson’s Comments About Batsuit Workout Training

1989’s Batman star Michael Keaton remembers what his co-star Jack Nicholson told him while training to get in shape for the Batsuit.

“I was training to be really fit,” Keaton said in a GQ video where he broke down his signature roles. “One day, Jack Nicholson walked by me. We were just starting to shoot and I was working on this bag, and I had been training to get fit. He walked by me and he goes, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘You know, just working out.’ He goes, ‘What are you doing that for?’ I didn’t have an answer for him. He just walked off and went to this other trailer.”

Keaton continued by revealing the mistake he was making in developing his performance as the Dark Knight. “I approached it totally wrong. It’s better to be really small and little and thin inside the thing. You can move, you can breathe, there’s room inside. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I was like, ‘I’m an actor, I’m going to do all this stuff.’ I mean, it helped in terms of carrying the whole thing around all the time.”

Keaton’s short physical frame was initially one of the reasons for the fan backlash when the actor was cast by Tim Burton to play Batman in the 1989 blockbuster. The public had a difficult time seeing the comedic actor from Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice transition into the large brooding force depicted in the comics. What ultimately worked in Keaton’s favor was his approach to playing Bruce Wayne rather than the title character.

“It was ALWAYS Bruce Wayne. You start with that,” Keaton said. “He witnessed the murder of his parents; that’s a lot to start with, especially if you take the Frank Miller approach, which was what we took.”

Will Michael Keaton play Batman again?

In 2023, Keaton reprised Batman for the DCEU installment The Flash, where Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) disrupts time and encounters the alternate Bruce Wayne. Warner Bros. initially planned more appearances for Keaton’s Batman including a supporting role in Batgirl and a cameo in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Unfortunately, Batgirl’s release was canceled, The Flash underperformed at the box office, and Keaton’s Aquaman cameo was removed from the final cut.

When asked about putting the Batsuit on one more time, Keaton continues to leave the door slightly ajar. “I don’t think about it much,” Keaton said on the Happy Sad Confused podcast when asked about a potential Batman reprisal on the big screen. “Never say never, I don’t think. Everything depends upon something else.”