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Keaton, who played the Caped Crusader in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, revealed that he always considered the possibility of returning to the role.
“Frankly, in the back of my head, I always thought, ‘I bet I could go back and nail that motherf*cker,’” Keaton told the magazine. “And so I thought, ‘Well, now that they’re asking me, let me see if I can pull that off.’”
Alongside Keaton, The Flash is also set to feature the DCEU iteration played by Ben Affleck, who donned the cape and cowl in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, before supposedly retiring from the role after 2017’s Justice League. Meanwhile, Ezra Miller will reprise his role as Barry Allen/The Flash, which he portrayed in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and both iterations of the Justice League.
According to director Andy Muschietti, The Flash will be introducing fans to the “idea of the multiverse, one of the core concepts underpinning DC Comics,” and will allow “several different versions of the same characters to simultaneously exist and, occasionally, interact.” Keaton admitted that the idea of parallel universes took a while to fully grasp.
“They had to explain that to me several times. By the way, I’m not being arrogant, I hope, about this. I don’t say it like, ‘I’m too groovy.’ I’m stupid,” he said. “There’s a lot of things I don’t know about. And so, I don’t know, I just kind of figured it out, but this was different.” After walking away from the franchise because he didn’t like the script for Batman Forever, Keaton says he looked at this latest opportunity as a challenge. “Well, now that they’re asking me, let me see if I can pull that off,” he said of being approached about the role.
Keaton also admitted that he better understood the gravity of playing Batman this time around. “What’s really interesting is how much more I got [Batman] when I went back and did him. I get this on a whole other level now. I totally respect it,” he said. “I respect what people are trying to make. I never looked at it like, ‘Oh, this is just a silly thing.’ It was not a silly thing when I did Batman. But it has become a giant thing, culturally. It’s iconic. So I have even more respect for it because what do I know? This is a big deal in the world to people. You’ve got to honor that and be respectful of that. Even I go, ‘Jesus, this is huge.’ “
Elsewhere in the interview, Keaton admitted that he isn’t quite up to speed when it comes to recent superhero films.
“After the first Batman, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an entire [comic book] movie,” the 69-year-old actor revealed. “I just never got around to it. So you’re talking to a guy who wasn’t in the zeitgeist of that whole world. When I went down to do the Marvel things in Atlanta … It’s an entire city dedicated to Marvel … They’ll be doing Marvel movies forever. I’ll be dead, and they’ll still be doing Marvel movies.”