Belfast Telegraph

Keaton found baring his flesh fun

Michael Keaton has revealed he found running almost naked through the middle of New York for new movie Birdman quite enjoyable.

The former Batman star's latest film - from Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, of 21 Grams and Babel fame - sees him play an actor once famous for starring as a movie superhero, trying to revive his flagging career by directing and starring in an ambitious Broadway production of a play he has also re-written himself.

One of the comic highlights of the dark comedy is when his character Riggan pops out for a cigarette between scenes and the stage door blows shut, trapping his dressing gown. The fragile actor is forced to run around the side of theatre and through Times Square to get back in through the front of the theatre - wearing only his underpants.

Michael confessed of shooting the scene on location: "It was really weirdly fun. It's fun to play a guy who's this screwed up. To literally get naked, I guess, I didn't think I'd enjoy it so much. You get naked emotionally and then you get almost naked physically."

The film is a brilliant satire on a film industry dominated by blockbuster comic book sequels. As well as looking at the industry and fame, Inarritu also turns the camera back on the world of social media. Just hours after Riggan has run semi-naked through Times Square, the video is all over the internet, and it helps draw publicity for his flagging play.

The film reflects the changing world of celebrity - where once Hollywood stars were still treated as real superheroes, the insatiable appetite for internet gossip appears to target them to expose their human frailty.

But Michael, 63, said: "I wonder if people always did that?

"Anyway, it's more so now, because of technology. You can catch people looking horrible or doing things that they actually do. It's more intense now than ever."

:: Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) opens in cinemas on January 1, 2015.

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