Actors should be talented enough to take on any role presented to them. Unfortunately, acting ability is the least of anyone’s concerns in modern Hollywood. Any pretty face can be a movie star in this day and age. In the 1980’s one particular comedian showed us what an actor truly should be capable of doing.
Having began his career as an assistant and part time actor on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Michael Keaton quickly began to appear on television shows all over the screen. He’d be seen on Maude and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour. After co-starring in Working Stiffs alongside fellow comedian, James Belushi, he’d go on to star in Night Shift. His comedic style bought smiles to countless faces as Keaton quickly became known as a great comic actor.
In 1988 Keaton would see his big break as star of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. As the title character, Keaton’s portrayal became famous. He was wild and buffoonish but clever and odd. Beetlejuice would solidify Keaton’s spot in Hollywood. Beetlejuice showed us the first glimpse of Keaton’s dark side. A side that would soon enough become essential to his next role. A side that would either make or break his career.
Keaton finally got to stretch his wings (or cape for that matter) in 1989’s Batman. Whereas, he usually played a silly or cartoony character, Gotham’s dark knight was a role that called for a dark and edgy side for Batman but a zaney and suave side for Bruce Wayne. Burton felt Keaton was the only actor who could pull off acting both sides of the character. Luckily, Keaton performed beyond anyone’s expectations. To this day, the actor is considered one of the best Batmans of all time.
Keaton would then go on to show us his Shakespearean side in Much Ado About Nothing and then his fathering portrayal in Jack Frost, a movie in which he becomes a talking snow man. Another film saw Michael Keaton portraying one man and all three of his clones that showed different sides to his personality, Multiplicity.
When an actor can play one character three different ways, it is impressive. When a comedian can take on the role of a brooding superhero, it is beyond impressive. Michael Keaton’s acting abilities are beyond that of most modern actors. One can only hope Hollywood begins using actors like Keaton as the standard. Perhaps then movies would actually be entertaining again.