August 6, 2017
Michael Keaton Plays McDonald's Kingpin In 'The Founder' Trailer [Watch]

Fresh off his starring roles in Oscar winners Birdman and Spotlight, Michael Keaton stars as fast food kingpin Ray Kroc in the Weinstein Co. movie The Founder. Kroc is the milkshake machine salesman who built McDonald's into the most successful burger operation in the world. The trailer for the film debuted online on Thursday, in which Kroc says, "McDonald's can be the new American church, and it ain't just open on Sundays."

"I know what you're thinking - how the heck does a 52-year-old, over-the-hill milkshake machine salesman build a fast food empire with 1,600 restaurants and an annual revenue of $700 million," Kroc asks in the clip. "One word: persistence."

Check out the trailer below.

Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch co-star in the film that Variety quoted Harvey Weinstein as saying, "The story of Ray Kroc should ignite adult audiences this summer and send the incredible team of John Lee Hancock and Michael Keaton back to the Dolby Theater."

The pic will highlight how Kroc becomes power-hungry as McDonald's evolves into an empire, and he amasses a fortune -- clashing with business partners and his wife (played by Laura Dern) along the way. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century, and he owned the San Diego Padres baseball team from 1974 until his death from heart failure at the age of 81 in 1984.

McDonald's was founded in 1940 and began as a barbecue restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald. In 1948, they restructured their business as a hamburger stand, then hired businessman Ray Kroc as a franchise agent in 1955. He purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers in 1961 for $2.7 million, "which after taxes left each brother with $1 million," per the Daily Mail.

The fast food chain now serves nearly 68 million customers daily in 119 countries, and sells everything from hamburgers, chicken, french fries, breakfast items, salads, fish, wraps, smoothies, and fruit.

Michael Keaton rose to fame for his comedic roles in films such as Night Shift (1982), Mr. Mom (1983), and Beetlejuice (1988). He's often referred to as "the best Batman" -- having donned the cap and mask for his portrayal of the comic hero in Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). He has appeared in a variety of films ranging in various genres, and most recently, he earned critical praise for his performance in Birdman (2014), which earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy; the Critics' Choice Award for Best Actor in a Comedy; and nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award, British Academy Film Award, and Academy Award for Best Actor. Deadline reports that Keaton just bowed out of Sony Pictures' reboot of Spider-Man. He was being courted to play the villain in the pic.

Meanwhile, with the stunning news of Prince's sudden death on Thursday, Keaton is among the celebrities to express their love in the wake of his passing. The music icon's multi-platinum-selling Batman soundtrack, which spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, played a major role in the film's success.

Keaton and Prince did not collaborate directly during the film, but the actor says he spent time on a transcontinental flight with the artist, and it left a lasting impression.

"I put him up there with Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, Miles [Davis] among the true greats," he told Variety. "Some musicians had their moments. He had what seemed like centuries of being great."

"He was one of those people you just assume, 'I am going to be watching what Prince does when he is 80," the actor said. "And it is going to be as good or better, and as innovative, as it is now."

Catch Michael Keaton as The Founder when the drama hits theaters August 4, 2016.

[Image courtesy Evan Agostini/Invision/AP]