There are a lot of men who’ve played Batman over the years and many of them have, purely through the strength of the performance, added something to the mythos of the character. However, it’s arguable that no actor has added more to Batman’s legacy than Michael Keaton, who is solely responsible for one of the the Dark Knights most famous and enduring quotes.
That quote is of course “I’m Batman”, which is growled into the cowering face of a criminal Keaton’s Batman just kicked the shit out in the opening minutes of the 1989 Batman film in response to the question, “What are you?”
The line has since become one of the most iconic ever uttered by the character and is considered one of his best and most quotable lines. In fact, the line is now linked so intrinsically to Batman that many assume that it must have originated from a Batman comic or something. The thing is, the line isn’t from an old Batman comic or cartoon, but Michael Keaton’s head.
You see, the originally scripted line for that moment wasn’t anything remotely as badass as “I’m Batman!” but “I am the knight!”. You know because he’s both the Dark Knight and beats people up at night.
The thing is, Keaton either didn’t like the line or simply forgot what he was supposed to say (sources seem conflicted on the exact story here) and ad-libbed “I’M BATMAN!“ instead. Keaton’s new line reportedly brought the fucking house down and the producers decided to just leave it in the film
As you might imagine, Keaton is kind of proud of coming up with one of the Batman’s best lines and he supposedly loves just randomly saying it when he’s filming other movies. We know this because according to Tom Holland he kept saying it when they were filming fight scenes for Spider-Man: Homecoming, presumably ruining the take but giving everyone a hearty chuckle.
What makes this especially amusing is that Keaton has, by his own admission, never watched another superhero movie (except for the Spider-Man movie he’s in obviously) from start to finish. Now we’d tell you Keaton’s reasoning but you can probably guess why, because he’s Batman.