Michael Keaton Talks 'Challenge' of Doing Action Movies While Reprising Batman Role (Exclusive)

'How do I outdo that? What's the new thing?'

More than 30 years after first donning the cape and cowl, Michael Keaton is Batsuiting up once again. The actor reprises his role as Bruce Wayne in Warner Bros.' Ezra Miller-starrer, The Flash, and although he's taken on a number of physical roles throughout his career, Keaton discussed with ET the challenges of filming action films at 69.

"It just is harder. And it's not like that's necessarily my signature. That's not my thing -- he's the action guy! -- you know? I do it here and there," Keaton told ET's Matt Cohen. "I am fortunate in that I take pretty good care of myself -- I stay basically in decent shape -- but then you get older, and you have to bump it up and bump it up. It just gets hard and there is no way around it. But it's kind of the challenge, isn't it? It's kind of the fun challenge."

The Flash will see Miller's Barry Allen speeding through the multiverse and crossing paths with Keaton's Caped Crusader, the same one he played in Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns ('92). Of reprising the role, Keaton recently told The Hollywood Reporter, "Frankly, in the back of my head, I always thought, 'I bet I could go back and nail that motherf**ker.'"

Warner Bros. Pictures

Before venturing off to shoot that movie, Keaton dropped back into the world of stunt work for The Protégé. Maggie Q stars as the world's most skilled contract killer, who vows revenge when her father figure and an assassin in his own right (Samuel L. Jackson) is murdered. Keaton plays another enigmatic killer that Q's Anna becomes entangled with.

"A lot of it is I'm fearful that Maggie's gonna hurt me. She's great at it. She's tough, man. She's a badass," Keaton said of going head-to-head with Q. "It's just play. Now that said, you have to be very serious about doing it, because it's physically hard. There are so many great stunts in these movies that I'm sure coordinators in the business are all thinking, 'How do I outdo that? What's the new thing?'"

Keaton and Q spend the movie in a deadly game of cat and mouse, a sexy yet antagonistic dynamic that is not dissimilar to, say, Batman and Catwoman. Not that Q thought of it that way. "But I should have!" she laughs. "I guess it would be too overwhelming. I had Batman out of my head. And on set, he reminded me about something Batman-y."

"Somebody made me a custom watch and they had my face painted on the face of the watch," Q recalled. "I was like, 'This is so overwhelming, because I have to look at myself and I never want to do that,' and Michael said, 'Oh yeah, that same person made me a watch and it was me as Batman.' I was dying. Like, 'You are Batman! That's right! I was trying not to think about that, but OK!' And he's a great Batman too! He wasn't, like, a disappointing Batman."

The Protégé is in theaters now. Watch an exclusive clip below.


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