Michael Keaton is about to fly back into the media spotlight in what sounds like a very good way.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” will be the closing night selection for the New York Film Festival, Sept. 26-Oct. 12.
The black comedy stars Pittsburgh native Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts.
The Fox Searchlight Pictures and New Regency release is slated to open in select theaters on Oct. 17, 2014. No word yet on whether Pittsburgh will get the movie then or slightly later.
In a press release, Kent Jones, New York Film Festival director and selection committee chair, said: “ ‘Birdman’ is a knockout. It’s consistently surprising and inventive — you think the movie is going in one direction and then Inarritu shifts gears and takes you somewhere else completely unexpected: the movie is like an intricate machine generating greater and greater amounts of beautiful radiant energy.
“The entire cast is amazing and they mesh perfectly, but I have to say that Michael Keaton is astonishing. He’s always been a terrific and, in my opinion, underrated actor. Here he gets the role he deserves, and he makes the most of it. And, it’s a great Broadway movie.”
In the movie, a onetime action hero named Riggan Thomson (Keaton) is trying to be taken seriously as an artist. He stages his own adaptation of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”
As Thomson tries to get his perilous undertaking in shape for the opening, he has to cope with a resentful daughter (Stone), a scene-hogging narcissist (Norton), a vulnerable actress (Watts) and an unhinged girlfriend (Riseborough) for co-stars, a manager who’s about to come undone (Galifianakis), and the inner demon of the superhero that made him famous, Birdman.
Birdman, Batman? Sweet serendipity or purposeful? Too early to tell.