Michael Keaton: ‘Beetlejuice 2’ Felt ‘Handmade’ After ‘Years’ in Front of a Green Screen on Superhero Movies

Liem Soeng

Michael Keaton: ‘Beetlejuice 2’ Felt ‘Handmade’ After ‘Years’ in Front of a Green Screen on Superhero Movies
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Michael Keaton had a very practical reason for returning to the “Beetlejuice” universe: practical effects.

Keaton, who recently reprised his other Tim Burton role of Batman in DC movie “The Flash” and previously played villain the Vulture in Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” credited the upcoming “Beetlejuice” sequel for eschewing CGI, a shortcut that was not really around for the 1998 film.

“Beetlejuice 2” is also sticking with much of the first film’s cast. Beyond Keaton, Winona Ruder and Catherine O’Hara are reprising their respective roles for the follow-up feature. They’ll be joined by new characters played by Willem Dafoe, Justin Theroux, and “Wednesday” breakout Jenna Ortega, who stars as Ryder’s onscreen daughter (O’Hara’s granddaughter).

Sounds like a party.

“It’s the most fun I’ve had on set in a long time. On one hand, you’d go, ‘Well, of course it’s the most fun. It looks like fun.’ As you know, it doesn’t always work like that,” Keaton told People magazine.

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Part of the fun for Keaton is being back with Burton. The other part is actually doing all of the work we’ll see on the screen.

“The one thing that he and I decided on early, early, early on from the beginning, if we ever did it again, I was totally not interested in doing something where there was too much technology. It had to feel handmade. It’s the most exciting thing,” Keaton said. “When you get to do that again after years of standing in front of a giant screen, pretending somebody’s across the way from you, this is just enormous fun.”

There were no tennis-balls-on-sticks in sight on the “Beetlejuice 2” set.

“What made it fun was watching somebody in the corner actually holding something up for you, to watch everybody in the shrunken head room and say, ‘Those are people under there, operating these things, trying to get it right,’” Keaton said.

“We thought, ‘You got to get this right. Otherwise, just don’t do it. Let’s just go on with our lives and do other things,’” he continued. “So I was hesitant and cautious, and he was probably equally as hesitant and cautious over all these years. Once we got there, I said, ‘OK, let’s just go for it. Let’s just see if we can do it, if we can pull this off.’”

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