Tim Burton admits Michael Keaton had ‘no burning desire’ to make Beetlejuice sequel

Michael Keaton didn’t originally want to reprise his role as the mischievous ghost in a follow-up to the 1988 supernatural comedy.

Tim Burton has revealed Michael Keaton had “no burning desire” to return as the titular character for a Beetlejuice sequel.

In an interview with the British Film Institute (BFI), the filmmaker revealed that the Birdman actor didn’t originally want to reprise his role as the mischievous ghost in a follow-up to their 1988 supernatural comedy.

“He didn’t want to do it (initially) – he had no necessarily burning desire, but I have to say, it was the most fun,” he said.

Despite his reluctance, it didn’t take long for Keaton to find his Beetlejuice again.

“It reminded me of back in the old days, this unhinged thing unleashed on the set,” Burton recalled. “I was quite shocked at how easy it was for him to kick it back into it. It was like demon possession.”

Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara also returned to the fold for the sequel, while Jenna Ortega, Justin Theroux, Monica Bellucci and Willem Dafoe were added to the mix.

The Sleepy Hollow director noted that he didn’t revisit his 1988 original in preparation for the sequel because he “didn’t feel like it would help”. However, he did use the same filmmaking techniques for both movies.

“We ended up doing the same idea – no digital effects, puppets, strings, wires, makeup, and tried to shoot it with the same spirit; with all these actors, they’re so good at improv,” he praised. “Working with these people again, and seeing them all, it was very emotional for me. Again, just going back to the old, same puppets and techniques. It goes back to the good old days.”

Burton had a day and a half left of filming Beetlejuice 2 when SAG-AFTRA actors went on strike in July.

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