With a long list of awards and critically acclaimed films under his belt, Michael Keaton has played some of the most iconic roles in the business. From the brilliant Birdman to the infamous Batman, Michael Keaton has shown he can tackle just about any role given. In his latest performance as the ambitious and ruthless Ray Kroc in The Founder, Keaton’s persistence is highlighted as the real ingredient for success in building the McDonald’s empire.
To celebrate the upcoming home entertainment release of The Founder, available on digital download, Blu-ray, and DVD from June 12th, we have been given the tough job of choosing Keaton’s top ten drool-worthy performances…
After its release in 2014, the American black comedy Birdman, went on to win four Academy Awards as well as Keaton picking up the title as Best Actor at the Golden Globe Awards. The story follows Riggan Thomson (Keaton), a faded Hollywood star best known for his role as the super hero ‘Birdman’, as he tries to edge away from his stagnant career and establish himself as a true artist by writing, directing and starring in a brand-new Broadway play. Keaton’s brilliant performance did not go unnoticed - as one critics beams, ‘in this bizarre, complex role, Keaton is better than he has ever been’.
2. Batman/Batman Returns
You would have to search far and wide to find someone who hasn’t heard of the dark hero that is Batman. In the first instalment of Warner Brothers’ initial Batman series, Michael Keaton infamously plays the title role and has been recognised by many as the best Batman there has ever been. Returning to the role in 1992 in Batman Returns, Keaton is the deep-voiced, mysterious hero that everyone loves but is slightly scared of!
In the heartbreaking true story of how the Boston Globe revealed the scandal of child molestation in the Catholic Church, Spotlight brilliantly tells the tale of a story that shook the world. Michael Keaton’s performance is recognised as a masterclass in performance acting, as he leads the team of journalists fighting for the truth to be revealed. Released just a year after Keaton’s success in Birdman, his latest run of performances show that he won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
A stripy suit (that could almost be considered fashionable now days) and a creepy character, everyone recognises Keaton’s performance in the crazy 1988 comedy Beetlejuice. It is said that Tim Burton convinced Keaton to take the role as Beetlejuice by describing him as ‘having lived in every time period but no time period’, which seemed to help Keaton fully commit to the role, even ad-libbing many of his lines.
5. Mr Mom
Taking on the role as a stay-at-home dad, it quickly becomes clear that this job is not as easy as it looks, as Keaton doesn’t have a clue! The 1983 comedy Mr Mom shows a lighter side to Keaton that the other roles listed, revealing he makes any character given equally believable. Mr Mom marked the start of his performances as the lead role in films, essentially starting his career!
6. The Merry Gentlemen
Do not let the title of this film mislead you, as there is very little merry-ness in these gentlemen! Telling the tale of a woman fleeing her abusive husband and forming an unlikely relationship with a suicidal hitman (Keaton), this 2008 film took audiences by surprise. Keaton is recognised for his delicacy and the sense of quiet that he brings to this unstable character, as well as this film being his directorial debut.
7. The Other Guys
With the hilarious Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg taking the lead as the dysfunctional detective duo, Keaton’s role as Captain Gene Mauch does not go unnoticed. Seemingly hating his job and not taking any nonsense from the incompetent pair, Keaton highlights witty comedy and a dry sense of humour at its best. With a vast numbers of his lines being too inappropriate to write, it is guaranteed that this film will leave you in fits of laughter.
8. Jackie Brown
This fast-paced, Tarantino-directed drama is tense enough to make anyone’s heart race. As Jackie finds herself in the middle of a conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life, this film is seen from a number of perspectives, adding to the complicity of the plot. Keaton’s character, Ray Nicolette, is a top agent for the ATF and determined to catch the bad guys. There seems to be a theme of perseverance in Keaton’s roles, so not sure we’d like to take him on in a challenge any time soon!
9. Night Shift
The plot for this film is simply crazy. A morgue that becomes a brothel at night definitely shouldn’t be funny, but somehow this film really is! After beating Kurt Russell and Mickey Rourke to the role, Keaton becomes Bill ‘Blaze’ Blazejowski, the idea man and comic sidekick with energy that can be felt oozing from the screen. Keaton’s charming persona and comedic style almost makes you forget that he is a pimp!
10. The Founder
In his most recent onscreen role, Keaton tells the true story of Ray Kroc, an ordinary salesman who turned two brothers’ fast food eatery into the multi-million-dollar empire that is McDonald’s. With ambition, ruthlessness and an ego the size of a super-sized Big Mac, Ray makes his crazy idea become a reality and is strangely likeable. Being the true professional that Keaton is, the film was shot in just 22 days and he even began taking piano lessons in preparation for the role after discovering Kroc liked to play. Almost everywhere you go there is likely to be a McDonald’s nearby, so this fantastic film makes you appreciate your burger just a little bit more!
The Founder is available on digital download, Blu-ray and DVD from June 12.
Tagged in Michael Keaton