INT: Michael Keaton
If you had
told me when I was younger that I would someday get to be in the same room as
Michael Keaton, I think my head would have exploded. From watching him in 80s
classics like NIGHT SHIFT or MR. MOM, to his career defining turn as the Dark
Knight in Tim Burtonsí BATMAN, Keaton has always been one of my favorite
actors. After some time away, heís been steadily making a return to acting.
This month, heís back on the scene in the new film HERBIE:
stepping in to play Lindsay Lohanís father.
During the press day for the film, Keaton took some time to talk with JoBlo.com about the film, as well as working with Lindsay Lohan, and the history of NASCAR. Thankfully, I have matured (just a little), so my head didnít explode during the course of the interview.
the cast members talked about how youíre their favorite actor. Did you know
that at the time?
I did not,
you find out later that Breckin (Meyer) was a little obsessed?
He had a
kind of glaze over his eyes that worried me. (LAUGHS) No, I did, actually. But
they were great, I love these guys. It was really fun. It was a nice set, it was
a really fun set and cast. I didnít know that until down the road a little
What was the appeal of this?
me the script, and I thought it was really well written. Itís nice to be in a
family movie from time to time. And especially something where itís this
classically Disney. That kinda becomes part of cinema culture, and really
American culture. Yíknow itís like one of those things. Theyíre still
talking about the old one. And this one will probably have more impact than
those. That would be my guess. I think itís a really well made movie by the
way, really well made.
said you gave her advice on her career. What did you say?
Really? Thatís curious, because I actually stay out of peopleís way and people have been asking me, and I say, you know what? If she asked me, and I probably wouldnít talk about it to people if she does ask me because I consider that private, I remember one conversation in a car talking about things, and I found that I kinda held back frankly, becauseÖwell, if people really wanna talk to me or really wanna ask me something, I gotta assume they really wanna know. If they really wanna know, gameís on. Otherwise, I kinda donít do it. So, I did the best I could, but you know I didnít think it was right to get into too much detail with a lot of people around and microphones.
really private and discreet; you have to scrutinize certain situations, so I
could only talk about so much. But Iíd be honored to tell her what I think. If
she wanted to listen, thatíd be really good. And if I had a different
relationship with her, like if I hung with her more, if I knew her better I love
to do it, because sheís great. Sheís a great kid, and sheís enormously
you donít develop those ďdadĒ relationships with you younger co-stars?
Yes I do actually. I donít develop them like ďhey letís all hang out.Ē I get like that, I get veryÖitís like even when the guys would tease her all the time, they were like little kids running around. They were all teasing each other and saying things. And sometimes Iíd say to the guys, they thought I was kidding, but I was kinda serious. Iíd tell them not to talk to her like that. Sheís a girl. You know theyíd laugh at me!
do you think about your FIRST DAUGHTER co-star Katie Holmes?
hereís what I think, Iíll tell you exactly what I think. I love that kid.
She is the greatest, I just really like her. And all Iíll say is, my hope and
my wish and the vibe that I send her way is that she remembers where she comes
from and who she is and who her mom and dad are, and thatís all sheís gotta
do. Because sheís a very well rounded girl, and I like her a lot, and has
talent that people havenít even seen yet I think. Thatís a lot of stuff to
have going on in your life. It probably feels like a whirlwind. So whatever the
good stuff in there is, I hope she gets. And whatever the bad stuff in there, I
hope she rejects.
new movie is not too bad.
would think it would be good. Iím not at all surprised. Thatís a really good
cast and heís a really good directorÖIíve never seen them since I did
interested. I have no interest. Itís not complicated. People seem not to
believe me. Iím just honestly not interested. I only live my life with things
that Iím interested in.
there a character that you would like to revisit?
only if Beetlejuice was done right. At one point, I had the conversation with
Tim, saying ďI love this movie so much; I think thereís one more in there
somewhere.Ē And we both talked about it, and I think there was a script
written once years ago that wasnít quite it. I would consider that, yeah, a
lot. I would seriously consider that.
was it like working with the car?
actually work with the car very much.
was that scene with the two cars at the end.
Which was an add on, they added the scene to that. It works. It was a great little button to the movie I think. I like the junkyard scene, I thought the junkyard scene was very cute. But thatís before I know heís Herbie. I just think this is a really well made movie, honestly, really, really well made family movie. I liked it a lot. I love that they didnít over hi-tech the car. It felt kind of old school. I think people subconsciously donít quite know whyÖBEETLEJUICE was like that actually.
One of the
mistakes, if we ever did it (BEETLEJUICE) again, would be to use too much
digital animation or use too many computer tricks. Thereís something about
that thatís not primitiveÖlike, homemade, like in some genius kidís
basement or something. Some of it was done physically, when I do the arms, I
come up with my arms rolled out like that. It was made with literally a plywood
thing, it would spin, and you had to be helped up. We did like, 12 takes because
the arms would go out and fall over. It was all about ďhow can I get this
thing to do one line?Ē Itís like, making it up kind of. And that comes off
are some of your favorite movies that youíve been in?
BATMAN I liked a lot. Thereís moments, I tend to remember things from movies
as opposed to the movies. So thereís moments in a lot of movies. But I like
CLEAN AND SOBER. I love MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Thereís a lot about THE PAPER
I really liked. I liked LIVE FROM BAGHDAD.
like GUNG HO.
Oh I love MR. MOM. I do, I really love that. I like what it became. I like that it worked so hard, and it was just a nice little movie. Honestly, itís a little American classic. Itís a little gem classic, really nice.
havenít we seen you in as many movies the last few years?
keeps asking me that. I wish I had some really cool answer. But I donít. I
donít think thereís one reason. I wasnít particularly interested. I
alsoÖif I do something I really wanna like what Iím doing. There were a lot
of things in life I wanted to do. I have a lot of interests. I think I looked at
some of the things I was doing and I went ďthat wasnít really great.Ē I
donít like to not respect myself.
Why do you think you interest in acting was refueled?
think workís important first of all. I think workís good for people. Just
work, generally. When I like acting, I really, really like it. HERBIE wasnít a
particular challenge. But it was a nice place to go and work, and be a part of
something like a big classic Disney movie. It was a polar opposite from
something that was really engaging, which was a little movie I did called GAME
I liked that a lot, and I turned around and went off to do a big studio movie. But basically it was that, take care of some other things in my life, see the world a little bit, making sure my son was raisedÖoff in college.
acting is not the end all be all for you?
certainly not. But there are things about it, I respect it and admire it and I
think itís an art form, or a craft, one or the other or both. And I like itÖ
I may do
it again. I may just kinda say, I donít know, I have no plan. I have kind of a
general plan about how I wanna be as a person. In terms of my work, which is
part of my life, thereís that, but I lot of that I canít control. I may want
to go do something, but Iím not going to get it. Itís gonna go to whoever
made 100 million dollars on their last movie.
your standards higher on projects now?
are and they arenít. Itís weird. I could say yeah, but then you would say
ďBut why are you playing the dad in HERBIE?Ē (LAUGHS) Except that it was really not complicated: hereís a movie. Do you want to be in a movie? Yes. Hereís a movie called HERBIE, read it. Oh, this is pretty good. This is nice. I like that cast. Let me go meet the director. She seems really smart. I liked what she wanted to do. Iím in the mood to work. Itís really easy. I donít work too long on the movie. Iím kinda in and out. Why not?
next for you?
doing this movie with a pretty new writer whoís reallyÖat least this script
is really good. Comedy, because Iíd really like to be doing some more
comedies. Itís a dark-ish kind of con movie. He has not directed before, which
I kinda thought I wouldnít do again for a while. But, heís pretty good, so I
guess Iíll take my chances. His meetings are good. And weíll probably get a
itís not done yet, and Iíve learned just not to talk about it until youíre
actually shooting film.
you tell us about GAME 6? Will it get a release?
GAME 6 will probably get released in a very limited way. I would be shocked if itís not in a few theatres here and there.
us what itís about.
itís a Don Delilo script, Don Delilo the novelist. Itís about a playwright
in New York who hasnít had a hit for a while, but is a good playwright. Heís
got one coming out that looks like it could be good, itís very personal. And
itís opening the same night as the Boston Red Sox/ New York Mets Game Six, the
famous, famous game, the World Series. And heís a die hard Sox fan. Hard core
New Yorker, but a Sox fan. Born and raised in Hellís Kitchen. His life is
falling apart, he hardly knows that, but it is.
kinda like AFTER HOURS in a way, a little bit like that. Itís really good.
Itís got a stellar cast. Robert Downey Jr., Catherine OíHara, Bebe Neuwirth.
Great cast, great script. Michael Hoffman directed it, who did SOAPDISH and
That was a case of saying well this is just good, you just gotta go work, just go act and go to the gym. I dug the character a lot. I related to him in a way. But heís totally unlike me, but actually kind of like me.
you tell us about being exposed to NASCAR?
I didnít know that much about NASCAR. Just what I get from ESPN. Iím curious about stuff, so I kinda knew roughly what it was about. But going there was a whole other experience. Itís an entire culture. The thing I mostly liked about it was that it was loud, it was really loud. You smell the oil and burning rubber and fans are everywhere. Theyíre so involved. Inside the pit is one thing, but out with the merchandising, thatís like a city in itself. It was fun. It was really fun to learn how that works. I put on these headsets. You click into the channels, just do the pit crew communications with the driver. Thatís really interesting. I was ready for some mayhem.
expected to hear is not at all what I heard. You know, guys talking casuallyÖI
was ready for people going ďLOOK OUT! GET OUTÖARRGGGH!!!Ē (LAUGHS)
cars and I like going fast. Bu this is a whole other thing. And theyíre barely
cars. Theyíre stock cars only in as much as thereís x amount of things that
have to say stock in the car. Besides that they donít resemble anything at all
the way it was originally manufactured. Thatís the idea. Get it down to where
itís the most efficient. I think where it comes from, NASCAR is classically
American, the history of it. The fact that it came out of something illegal is
like, really American in a way.
came here, they settled, then there came moonshine. You had to have a car to get
away from the cops. Then they started racing these cars. Then they started
Robinson, the director, said that before you started shooting you had a 2 hour
meeting with her.
Well, I probably had 3 or 4 meetings with her. Iím not in the movie that much. What I liked about it was that she had really good answers and she really thought about things. You could say ďyeah, but itís just HERBIE.Ē But in my opinion, if you donít do thatÖthis movie is a lot harder than it looks.
really great chefs, especially some of those French guys, what ends up on your
plate and the nuances of it, and you go ďthatís it?Ē And what went into
making just that thingÖHerbie was like a big, very difficult thing to do. But
the goal was accomplished in that you go ďwow.Ē Like a nice glass of
lemonade. This is a really, really, sweet, really simple, light poppy kind of
movie. But a ton of work goes into it to get it to be like that. Talking to her,
thatís the only way I know how to work. I just ask a zillion questions.
though itís just the dad in HERBIEÖyou have to do that kind of work, I
think. You gotta lay it down. And then you kinda forget, and just show up for
you always approached you roles that way?
Yeah, except for when I just started out and I just had to get the gig. I just had to go audition and get it. Yeah, I always did a fair amount of work. Thereís some that require less than others.
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