Michael Keaton Is Ready To Raise Hell In Beetlejuice Beetlejuice: ‘I Absolutely Love This Thing’ – Exclusive Image

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice

by Ben Travis |
Published on

In every sense, Beetlejuice (or, Betelgeuse, to give him his official name) is a force of nature. The titular ghoul in Tim Burton’s beloved spooky comedy is a total hellraiser, unleashing supernatural shenanigans on the living and the recently deceased: possession, transmogrification, and absurdist pranks are the name of his game. And in the hands of Michael Keaton, the character became an instant cinematic icon – not only for that distinctive black-and-white get-up and green shock of hair, but the freewheeling ferocity of Keaton’s physical performance. Whenever Beetlejuice (Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!) is summoned, you never quite know what he’ll do next. Now, over thirty years later, he’s about to conjure up even more chaos.

Yes, Beetlejuice is back in long-awaited sequel Beetlejuice Beetlejuice – with Burton once again directing, and Keaton ready to rip it up all over again. And in Empire’s world-exclusive cover feature, Keaton spoke about the “surreal” experience of finding himself back in the stripes. It was, he says, a process of reaching beyond the pop cultural icon that Beetlejuice became and going back to the weird, wild, wonderful source. “There’s been so much merchandising of it, I had to drop back to where it started,” he tells Empire. “I had to go, ‘What was my unusual imagination even thinking about when I was developing it in the first place?’ As opposed to seeing a coffee mug or a golf-club cover [adorned with Betelgeuse’s face].” The ubiquity of Beetlejuice as a character in the culture created its own challenges. “That was fucking weird,” admits Keaton. “To be honest with you – I’m being very frank – it was off-putting, to look and go, ‘I don’t want to look like all these little things, fuck that – what was the thing that started this?’”

According to all involved, Keaton well and truly succeeded in channeling authentically Beetlejuician carnage. “It was like he was possessed by a demon, because he just went right back into it,” says Burton. “It was insane,” raves Catherine O’Hara. “Insane.” And incoming star Jenna Ortega – re-teaming with her Wednesday director – was blown away when she first came face-to-face with the bio-exorcist. “It was like an animal with a gun had just walked into the room,” she says. “To watch him physically change and appear and Michael Keaton to be gone, and for me to be dealing with this Betelgeuse guy… it blew my mind.”

As Beetlejuice Beetlejuice prepares to finally hit cinemas in a few months’ time, Keaton is confident that he, Burton, and their collaborators have hit on something special once again. “I love it,” he says. “I absolutely love this thing. And I don’t [usually] talk like that. I unabashedly love this. It was not easy to pull off, and I think we did it in spades.” It’s showtime!

Empire July 2024 – Beetlejuice Beetlejuice cover

Read Empire’s full world-exclusive Beetlejuice Beetlejuice cover feature – going on set of the film, and speaking to Tim Burton, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Jenna Ortega, Willem Dafoe, Monica Bellucci and Justin Theroux about what’s in store –  in the July 2024 issue, on sale Thursday 6 May. Pre-order a copy online here. Beetlejuice Beetlejuice comes to UK cinemas from 6 September.

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