He might’ve starred opposite Christian Bale in The Dark Knight, but actor Eric Roberts is completely on Team Keaton when it comes to deciding who gave the best ever portrayal of Batman on the big screen.
In an interview with TooFab, the Oscar-nominated star – who’s part of the Roberts acting dynasty, including his sister Julia and daughter Emma – was asked about his favourite version of the Caped Crusader. He instantly replied with his choice: “Michael Keaton.” When reminded that he worked with Bale on 2008’s Christopher Nolan sequel, Roberts doubled down on his opinion. “Michael Keaton, by far.”
Likewise, when asked for the best Joker, Roberts went for Jack Nicholson’s Jack Napier from 1989’s Batman, though he did praise Joaquin Phoenix’s “incredible performance” in Joker, which he described as an “incredible, gripping film.” Clearly, despite not being personally involved in it, there’s no shaking Roberts’ love for Tim Burton’s original Batman movies. He even went on to elaborate about his feelings for the ’89 flick, saying:
“I loved Michael’s performance in that movie. And I believed him. He was the Batman! [And] you know what, I’m a Jack fan, but I’m old. Yeah, I love that movie, love those guys, love everything about them.”
It’s ironic that Roberts is a Keaton fan when he featured in what’s widely regarded to be the best Batman movie of all time, but you have to respect his loyalty to the old movies, much as the rest of us fans do with our own personal favorite Bruce Wayne. Plus, it kind of makes sense that Sal Maroni – the Gotham crime boss Roberts played in TDK – would carry a grudge against Bale’s Bats, after he dropped him off a rooftop and broke his leg.
This past summer, a poll revealed that US voters are almost evenly split when choosing between Keaton and Bale as the best Batman, with Bale just about coming on top with 39% over Keaton’s 38%. It’ll be interesting to see if, in a few years’ time, Robert Pattinson – the latest incumbent of the cape and cowl – will give either of them a run for their money.