​Michael Keaton takes wing in "Birdman"

Lee Cowan heads to Michael Keaton's 1,000-acre Montana ranch for an up-close-and-personal visit with this unique and inventive actor
Lee Cowan heads to Michael Keaton's 1,000-acr... 08:13

Keaton said, "It never occurred to me it would be an issue one way or another. I mean, to this day I think it's funny. Now I dig it. Now I love it. I really think it's awesome."

"But there were, like, petitions, right? People were writing to Warner Brothers and saying, 'Oh no, you can't have Mr. Mom play Batman'?"

"Yeah! Villagers with torches, coming to get me!"

"Batman" went on to be one of the biggest-grossing films of the decade. "Batman Returns" was, too.

But when it came time for "Batman III," Keaton bowed out, even after being offered a reported $15 million to do it.

"What was it about 'III' that you just didn't like?" asked Cowan.


"Yeah? I guess that pretty much sums it up."

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"Yeah, it just was awful!"

Keaton never really disappeared. He's pretty much been as busy as he's wanted to be. He couldn't resist doing the voice of Barbie's Ken in "Toy Story III." But nothing, not even "Batman," has been as demanding as "Birdman."

The film is shot in long, unbroken takes; it plays more like a theater production than a movie.

"It was the most intense thing I'll probably ever do," he said. "I can't imagine doing anything this hard."

Turns out Michael Keaton hasn't been hiding from anything out in Montana -- perhaps he's just been waiting for a role as fascinating as his view.

"I never use the word lucky. I don't believe in luck. You make life or you take opportunities and you turn that into something, but good fortune, man, unbelievable."

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