Aug. 21, 2011 | 11:00 a.m.
In 1989, “Batman” ushered in a new era of superhero cinema and one of the key behind-the-camera figures was Michael E. Uslan, a producer whose name has appeared in the credits of every Gotham City film released since that first landmark Tim Burton adventure. Uslan is the author of a new book, “The Boy Who Loved Batman: A Memoir,” and it’s packed with telling recollections and surprising revelations about the history of comics and masked-man films. Uslan will be in Santa Monica on Sept. 23 for a 6:30 p.m. signing at the Every Picture Tells a Story shop and gallery and that will be followed, right across the street, with the American Cinematheque screening of “Batman” and the underrated 1992 sequel “Batman Returns.” I’ll be interviewing Uslan on stage before the first films and plan to talk about his memoir and his long odyssey in […]
May 16, 2011 | 10:41 a.m.
We’re getting a tremendous response to the lengthy feature on Michael Keaton and his reflections on life, career, “Batman,” “Beetlejuice” and working with Tim Burton. There was plenty left over from the interview, however, so I went back to find more nuggets about the actor’s time wearing the cape and mask of Gotham City’s dark champion. On the magnitude of “Batman” and the landmark moment it represented in Hollywood history: “It was awesome. It was so cool. It was so much work. Now it would be done so much more efficiently; that guy [Christopher Nolan, the director of the new Batman trilogy] is great, he’s really, really talented, but at the time we did ours, there was no example to follow. It was new territory. And what Tim accomplished changed everything. It was hard. It was harder on Tim than anyone and he changed the way people look at […]
May 14, 2011 | 9:03 a.m.
The props and costumes of Hollywood have become big business at the auction block and, right or wrong, are taking on the aura of true cultural artifacts in our celebrity-obsessed era. But like many relics, they face the danger of time and mistreatment. To shed some light on it, preservation specialist Ron Barbagallo has written a guest essay on the fragile treasures of Gotham City (one of which returns to the screen this weekend in Los Angeles with the American Cinematheque screening of Tim Burton’s “Batman“) The insidious danger comes from below. Liquids oozes up to wreak havoc on a foundation that seemed solid, but now suddenly cracks with fissures that spiral out of control. Malicious gases rise and permeate, damaging everything in their path. No, this is not part of some super-villain’s diabolical plot to destroy Gotham or Metropolis, but there are heroes in danger in this scenario. I’m talking […]
May 12, 2011 | 4:44 p.m.
In cold, final weeks of 1988, there was plenty of hard labor on the London set of Tim Burton’s “Batman,” but actor Michael Keaton had it easy, at least as far as inspiration — the star was in a solitary mode, roaming the streets before dawn just like the haunted masked man of Gotham City. “It was a lonely time for me, which was great for the character, I suppose,” said Keaton, now 59, reflecting on the film that paved the way for the crowds of superheroes in cinemas today. “I would run at night in London just trying to get tired enough so I could sleep. I didn’t talk to people much. My little boy was a toddler, and the woman I was married to at the time, we were not together but we were trying to figure it out […]