michael keaton, batman, batman forever, script, sucked, joel schumacherChristopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy marked a departure for the superhero genre, and particularly the "Batman" films, exploring the character's darker roots. But those still cringing over Joel Schumacher's cheese-tastic entries in the series may have forgotten that Batman had previously been given a more gritty treatment under the guidance of director Tim Burton and star Michael Keaton, who paired for the franchise's first two installments. And according to Keaton, it was specifically because Schumacher wanted to change so much of that tone that he decided to bow out of one of his most famous roles.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor explained how his collaboration with Burton on 1988's "Beetlejuice" led to them working together again on the inaugural big screen outings of the Caped Crusaded. While 1989's "Batman" and 1992's "Batman Returns" were hits, they were also a big gamble, Keaton told THR, and their darker tone certainly set them apart from previous superhero flicks like those in the Christopher Reeve-fronted "Superman" series.

As Keaton tells it, he much preferred that direction, which is why he bristled at Schumacher's insistence on changing the tone of the series when he took the helm for 1995's "Batman Forever." According to the actor, there were problems with the flick from the very beginning:

"It sucked," Keaton says of the script he was shown. "I knew it was in trouble when he [Schumacher] said, 'Why does everything have to be so dark?' "

The actor walked away from the franchise, and the titular role in "Batman Forever" eventually went to Val Kilmer (George Clooney later played the hero in "Batman and Robin"). As he explained to THR, Keaton didn't work very steadily in the years directly following that decision.

But the actor has found success again in recent years, lampooning his superhero past in "Birdman" (and earning himself an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and an armful of other awards in the process), and returning to the genre with an appearance as a villain in the upcoming Marvel flick "Spider-Man: Homecoming." We'd say that's a pretty fair trade.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]