Michael Keaton Not Jealous of Ben Affleck: “I’m Batman, I’m Very Secure in That”

Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck
Michael Keaton told the ShortList he's not jealous that Ben Affleck is stepping into his old superhero role; "I'm Batman. I'm very secure in that," he said Dave J Hogan/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Batfleck, schmatfleck. Ben Affleck may be the latest Hollywood star to don Batman's horned mask and black cape, but he certainly isn't the first. Christian Bale, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, and Michael Keaton — among others — have all played the Caped Crusader on the big screen, and Keaton, for one, feels pretty confident that his legacy will go on.

Asked whether he's envious that Gone Girl hunk Affleck, 42, gets to steer the Batmobile in Zack Snyder's upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Keaton told the ShortList, "No. Do you know why? Because I'm Batman. I'm very secure in that."

The Birdman Golden Globe nominee, now 63, brought Batman to life in two movies, Batman and Batman Returns, in 1989 and 1992, respectively. Both were helmed by Keaton's Beetlejuice director, Tim Burton.

michael keaton in batman
Michael Keaton in Batman Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

"Tim changed, or started, everything," the actor told the ShortList of Burton's revival of superhero movies. "And I'm proud of the choice I made, in terms of how to play Batman. It's probably easier now because Tim paved the way, and if I did anything to pave the way, I'm proud of that, too."

He added: "You can step into it more easily now, is my guess. Technically, [superhero movies] do everything for you. They create a world where all you've basically got to do is show up, not f–k it up too much, and you'll come off okay." 

That may be true, but Affleck has faced a lot of backlash over his casting as the masked vigilante. He follows the most recent Batman, Christian Bale, who played Bruce Wayne in 2005's Batman Begins, 2008's The Dark Knight, and 2012's The Dark Knight Rises.

Bale chose to hang up his Batsuit after the third film, but unlike Keaton, he's had some trouble coming to terms with the fact that someone else will be stepping into his role.

"I've got to admit initially, even though I felt that it was the right time to stop, there was always a bit of me going, 'Oh, go on…Let's do another.' So when I heard there was someone else doing it, there was a moment where I just stopped and stared into nothing for half an hour," he told Empire magazine in November. "The fact that I'm jealous of someone else playing Batman…I think I should have gotten over it by now."

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