Tim Burton, director of Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) talks to Yahoo! on why he cast of Michael Keaton as Batman and why he didn’t return to the Batman franchise after Batman Returns.
On why Michael Keaton seemed crazy enough for 1989’s Batman:
“It got a lot of criticism for being too dark, and there was a lot of criticism for casting Michael Keaton. They thought it was going to be a comedy or whatever, but it felt very special. We met these big tough guys, but what it came down was that, you look at someone like Michael and you think, ‘Here’s a guy you can see dressing up like a bat.’ He’s got the eyes and the kind of crazy quality and the kind of internal life, but he’s not Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So, here’s somebody who needed to create a persona to frighten people and intimidate people, and Michael just seemed like the perfect person to be that. The studio was quite supportive. Thank God, the Internet wasn’t as big then, because we would have been really murdered. But even without the Internet, there was a lot of negativity and alarm.”
On walking away from Gotham City following 1992’s sequel, Batman Returns:
”I think I upset McDonalds. [They asked] ‘What’s that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth. We can’t sell Happy Meals with that!’ It was a weird reaction to Batman Returns, because half the people thought it was lighter than the first one and half the people thought it was darker. I think the studio just thought it was too weird — they wanted to go with something more child- or family- friendly. In other words, they didn’t want me to do another one.”