‘Knox Goes Away’: Michael Keaton & James Marsden On Their Crime Drama, Batman, ‘Sonic 3,’ & ‘Beetlejuice’ [The Discourse Podcast]

In this week’s episode of The Discourse, host Mike DeAngelo weaves through memory to discuss the film “Knox Goes Away” with director and star Michael Keaton (“Batman,” “Beetlejuice”) and co-star James Marsden (“X-Men,” “Sonic the Hedgehog”). The film follows the story of Knox (Michael Keaton), a seasoned contract killer whose life takes a dark and unexpected turn when he’s diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease while also needing to help his estranged son (Marsden) before he loses his mind completely. The film also stars Marcia Gay Harden, Al Pacino, and more. 

READ MORE: Michael Keaton Says Even Sony Couldn’t Explain The Vulture Cameo In ‘Morbius’

During the interview, Michael Keaton shares insights into his experience directing not one but two contract killer films, including “Knox Goes Away” and his first directorial effort, “The Merry Gentleman,” despite not even particularly loving the “contract killer” genre.

“I don’t even like [killer] movies. I don’t dislike them, but I’m not pursuing contract killer movies,” Keaton admits. “It’s weird to me that both of those [movies I directed] are contract killers. But this is much, much, much different.”

Keaton and Marsden also discuss the intriguing dynamics of their characters in “Knox Goes Away” (read our review). Michael Keaton reflects on how much Marsden looks just like the product of a younger version of himself and co-star Marcia Gay Harden.

“It is weird. I didn’t even think of it much. You have to think about it a little bit. I kind of didn’t think of it until watching dailies and thought, ‘Oh yeah! That could work,’ and then it was really weird when you see Marcia Gay [as James’ mother],” Keaton shares.

James Marsden adds, “[Marcia Gay] looks like my mother—they are dead ringers for each other, but I could totally see this almost worked too well.”

During the chat, Keaton also touches upon his recent return to the iconic role of Batman in “The Flash” and the shot but never-to-be-released “Batgirl” film. Shirking off most of the emotional weight and fan expectations, he emphasizes his practical, healthy approach, treating these projects as jobs rather than getting overly sentimental about reprising the character.

“No. I didn’t look at it like that. I just kind of say, ‘Oh, this [script] is pretty good. This is well written. I’ve done this [character] well, so it should be fun. And then it’s the director— what is it about this guy? Andy [Muschietti] (“The Flash”) or the boys [Adil & Bilal] (“Batgirl”)—those two guys are interesting guys,” Keaton states.

READ MORE: ‘Beetlejuice 2’: Michael Keaton Calls Tim Burton’s Sequel “Really Beautiful” & “Emotional”

The conversation takes another exciting turn as Keaton teases the upcoming “Beetlejuice” sequel entitled “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice,” in which he reunites with director Tim Burton and former co-stars Winona Rider and Catherine O’Hara, among others.

“It was fun. Yeah. Nervous time, though, you know? Because we waited a long time and had a lot of discussions behind the scenes for years, Tim [Burton] and I,” Keaton shared. “And I admit that I was nervous—usually, I don’t get nervous. I look at it like, ‘Okay, time to go to my job,’ right? Just got to go to work. This is what I was nervous about—because the pressure is on, but I weirdly kind of like it like that sometimes. But Tim [Burton] was more solid than ever.”

James Marsden also gives insights into his ongoing projects, including the upcoming “Sonic The Hedgehog 3,” which will also feature the return of Jim Carrey, who is unsurprisingly a thrill to behold on-set. 

“I’m really proud of what we’ve created [with Sonic] and the response from the fans and everything. We just had to get the animation right in that first movie. But it’s a great family, all positive. Jim [Carrey] ’s just having a ball. He’s in his inspiration zone,” Marsden explained. “And he comes to set with the kind of like [Keaton] mentioned, with like pages and pages—really sheet music for the day, like really calculated and prepared. So it’s a joy to watch him have a good time. Yeah. So really enjoying it again,”

On the topic of his rumored return in Marvel Studios’ upcoming “Deadpool 3,” Marsden remains tight-lipped, but when asked if he thinks his Cyclops and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool would get along, he had this to share: “No, I think those are two opposites. But I think they would respect each other,” Marsden said. “No, I keep hearing about [“Deadpool 3”]. I can’t walk down the street without someone asking me… Yeah, we just wrapped [“Sonic 3”]. We were near the ‘Deadpool’ stages, actually,” he teased.

“Knox Goes Away” is in theaters nationwide on March 15th. You can watch the full interview below:

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