Michael Keaton Discusses Playing Ray Kroc In ‘The Founder,’ Vulture In ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ And Batman

Actor Michael Keaton may very well be heading into a brand new stage of his acting career.

The longtime actor has had the privilege of starring in a number of memorable big-screen roles in recent years – including films that grabbed the Academy’s attention such as Birdman and Spotlight. Decades before he earned an Oscar nomination for playing Riggan Thompson in Birdman, though, Michael Keaton took the popularity of the DC Cinematic Universe to new heights as Bruce Wayne in the Tim Burton-directed Batman movies.

In a recent interview with Deadline, the 65-year-old actor opened up about his memorable performance as the Caped Crusader and billionaire vigilante long before Christian Bale and Ben Affleck donned the suit themselves.

The primary purpose of the interview was to focus on his newest role: playing failed salesman-turned-entrepreneur Ray Kroc in the John Lee Hancock-directed film The Founder. However, the interview shined a spotlight of sorts on other stages of Michael Keaton’s acting career – focusing on the past with Batman, the future with Spider-Man:Homecoming as well as his upcoming film.

In regards to why he decided to play Ray Kroc – a man known by many as the ruthless businessman who took over the McDonald’s empire – Michael Keaton discussed his honest approach to the character. He claims he made it clear from the start to the director that he would not approach the role essentially wearing rose-colored glasses when portraying him.

“I sat right at this table with John Lee Hancock. I said, you might want to really think about getting somebody else to do this. I won’t back off what he is. I don’t believe in begging for someone to love you when that’s not the job at hand. I said, if you want me to soften this or go, aw shucks, he’s really not so bad, I’m not your guy… That’s not exactly accurate… but when the guy does what he does, you play that.”

How exactly was the connection drawn between The Founder and Batman? The concept of risk was addressed in a question that focused on a major risk when Ray Kroc reportedly took out a second mortgage on his home without notifying his wife beforehand – putting it all on the line.

When Keaton was asked to identify the closest thing he has done with his life that comes close to such a risky situation, the Robocop actor claimed hee always bets on himself – including his decision to wear the cape and cowl in Batman.

“I just don’t know another way. At the time, Batman was an enormous risk. If you go down in that, you go down in a big, big way… If that fails, it fails in a huge way so I’m not averse to risk.”

However, Keaton painted a clear contrast between himself and Kroc – claiming he personally would never risk a home or anything that could possibly harm his family due to his practical nature. When it came to his upcoming villainous role in the highly-anticipated Spider-Man: Homecoming, the fact that Tom Holland debuted as Spidey in Captain America: Civil War was brought up.

Michael Keaton may have dropped at least a few jaws with his surprising response to that comment.

“I haven’t seen any of those movies, though. I just haven’t. It’s not a judgment.”

Getting a chance to play the villain in a comic book movie may seem like a different turn for a man who is arguably one of the best actors to play the Dark Knight on the big screen. Keaton was asked if he felt any envy while working on Batman and Batman Returns toward his co-stars who got to play “gleeful psychopaths” in comparison to his good guy/hero role. According to Michael, he “didn’t have time” for jealousy.

“I can’t remember if there was a time I thought, ‘Man, they’re having a lot of fun and I’ve got to be the center of this thing.’ I just hoped what I was doing was working. I had never done anything like that and it was a big risk going down that road.”

Even though Michael Keaton being cast as Bruce Wayne and Batman in the 1989 film was initially embraced by negativity and criticism, he quickly shocked the world and was the first actor to add a touch of darkness to the Dark Knight on the big screen. Perhaps that same versatility will be shown yet again in The Founder, possibly leading Michael Keaton back into the Oscar race yet again.

[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]