Michael Keaton Talks Birdman, Oscars

There is a lot of verisimilitude not just in the idea of Michael Keaton playing a one-time Hollywood franchise star struggling with the burden of residual fame, but also in the credits for Birdman. Scanning through the descriptors for some of the smaller roles, it feels like the filmmakers have really nailed a key part of NYC:

Annoying Tourist
Annoying Times Square Guy #1, #2, #3
Shocked Audience Member
Tourist with Bagel
Crazed Fan/Stalker


The credits are kinder to Lindsay Duncan, labeling her as Tabitha rather than Annoying New York Times Theater Critic. There is of course nothing annoying about leading man Keaton. This is a guy who figured out that Montana was the best way to dodge any real-life version of his buzzed-about film’s central conceit. And as he reminded the New York Times’ Melena Ryzik, all good things come to those with patience:

“It’s rare that you get to be part of some amazing experiment like this,” Keaton said. “The movie gets dark and gets weird, and it gets funny. So you’re constantly on this surfboard, kind of feeling it out. I like that. I just like seeing if I can do it…”

Filmed in part at the St. James Theater on West 44th Street, Birdman required the services of Emmanuel Lubezki, the Oscar-winning cinematographer for Gravity, and a lot of exacting [complicated camera blocking] rehearsal… “Just on a practical level, I had to stay locked in,” says Keaton. “It was extremely demanding, the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

At the very end of the NYT article, Keaton has a great quote about film awards season and the six-month trajectory Birdman will be locked into. It’s succinct, hilarious and so good, we hope that a few other performers trapped in that birdcage this year will feel free to paraphrase.
[Photo of Keaton and director Alejandro González Iñárritu at 2014 Venice International Film Festival: Chinetella Photo/Shutterstock.com]

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.
Publish date: October 9, 2014 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/michael-keaton-birdman-new-york-times/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT