The new movie “Birdman” has captured two new stars, and both remain very ironic choices. Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Babel”) directs “Birdman,” a movie about an actor who is famous for playing an iconic superhero. The actor wants to reinvent himself and tries to do so by joining a Broadway play. In some fantastic casting news, the role of the actor has gone to Michael Keaton, who of course starred as Batman in two of Tim Burton’s efforts at the character. The other new casting news is that Edward Norton will take on the role of an egotistical leading man who makes Keaton’s character’s life hell.
The signing that brings the most fun to the script is bringing aboard Keaton, a geek favorite actor who just doesn’t get enough roles these days. The fact that the former Batman actor will star in a movie called “Birdman” is ironic enough, but if the script somehow has Keaton mutter “I am Birdman,” comic book movie fans will show up in multitudes to see the film. Of course, this fits Keaton well, as he starred in both of Tim Burton’s Batman films, and has struggled to find his place since then. Recently, Keaton has taken small supporting roles in a number of funny movies, showing his comedic side, but here he plays a character with loftier expectations.
If Keaton’s role as an actor who became famous playing a superhero is ironic, imagine the irony of Edward Norton playing someone who makes a project’s life extremely difficult. Norton has been in a role reversal of this idea before in “Death to Smoochy,” but it is more ironic because of Norton’s real-life antics. The actor remains known as one of the most temperamental and controlling actors in Hollywood. On “American History X,” in which he was the lead actor, he actually had the movie taken away from the director so he could edit it how he wanted it. He also caused a lot of problems on the set of “The Incredible Hulk,” and Marvel found it easier to recast someone else for “The Avengers” as a result.
Alejandro González Iñárritu
If anyone can pull these two together, it is Iñárritu. One of the rising Spanish filmmaking stars, along with friends Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron, Iñárritu remains the one with less work on his resume. However, when he does take on a project, great things follow. After making his name with “Amores Perros” in 2000, he worked with Sean Penn in “21 Grams,” a movie that earned Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro Oscar nominations. He went big time with “Babel,” a movie with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett headlining the cast, picking up seven Oscar nominations. His last movie, “Biutiful,” picked up Javier Barden an Oscar nomination. Iñárritu knows his way around casts, and if his past is any indication, Keaton and Norton are in for a treat.
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