Beetlejuice: Michael Keaton Reveals How He Personally Created his Iconic Look

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Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Say it three times and the Ghost With the Most arrives. 

Screen icon Michael Keaton rose to superstardom with his role as the demonic prankster, but an interview with The Hollywood Reporter has come from beyond the digital grave with the shocking revelation that Keaton almost denied the viewing public his wondrous black and white pinstripe suit. 

Michael Keaton On Creating Beetlejuice’s Memorable Look

Beetlejuice Michael Keaton

Keaton explains that at the time he didn’t understand what director Tim Burton was going for:

“I had no idea what he was talking about, but I liked him. ‘I wish I could do it. You seem like a really nice guy and I know you’re creative, but I don’t get it…’ When you see [the movie], you understand probably why it was hard for him to explain.”

However, after three meetings, Keaton warmed up to Burton’s kooky vision and requested a few days and several wardrobe choices:

“I said, ‘Give me the night or two days’ and I called the wardrobe department at the studio and said, ‘Send me a bunch of wardrobes from different time periods, randomly. Just pick a rack… And then I thought of an idea of teeth and an idea of a walk and I knew it had been there, and I called and said ‘I got an idea, and I don’t know if it’s going to work or not, so let’s just go do this thing.’”

Beetlejuice Michael Keaton

Lord only knows how Burton responded to Keaton’s request. However, when Keaton appeared with the final product Burton fell in love with it immediately, despite having no input on the look whatsoever:

“Here’s the amazing part about it: He never saw any of it. We discussed it. I said ‘I want hair that looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket.’ And to the great Ve Neill in wardrobe, I said ‘I want mold because Tim said he lives under rocks.’ So I showed up for work and I walked on the stage and said, ‘This is either going to be way off the mark, or he’s going to — I don’t know what he’s going to do. He got it immediately.”

Beetlejuice Michael Keaton

Beetlejuice was a smash hit with critics and audiences when released in 1988 and launched the careers of Burton, Keaton, and Winona Ryder, as well as a new wave of wacky, slightly edgy fantasy films throughout the 1990s. 


The film starred Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Sylvia Sidney, and Glenn Shadix among others. It’s hard to imagine the title character portrayed by anyone else other than Keaton, and now we have even more reason to love his performance and revisit the film whether it’s the spooky season or not.

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What do you think of this Beetlejuice news? Are your eyeballs popping out of your head in surprise at how much involvement Keaton had? Is your cranium spinning at the notion of what the film would be without him? What’s your favorite Tim Burton movie?  Let us know in the comments below and on our Twitter. Stay Spooky everyone.


Source: Coming Soon


Kevin Thomas

Kevin Thomas

Kevin Thomas is a film-loving college graduate who has been writing film reviews since age 10. He approaches life with a sense of humor and optimism and lives in Georgia with his 2 dogs.