“Birdman” star Michael Keaton and director Alejandro González Iñárritu think the cyber terror that Sony is suffering through is “the perfect satire.”
Keaton and Iñárritu weighed in on the Sony situation after TheWrap‘s Award Series screening of their critically acclaimed comedy at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Earlier in the day, the group claiming responsibility for the hack attack, Guardians of Peace, threatened theaters planning on showing upcoming Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy “The Interview” with a terrorist attack comparable to 9/11. Several theater chains, including Hollywood staple ArcLight Cinemas, have already dropped the movie.
“The idea [of the movie] is actually really kind of bold and funny,” Keaton said. “And then when you can put that in the context how huge this thing could be, and the fact that you can control — I mean, if you really want to play this out — how this can potentially control corporations and the economy, that’s not science fiction. That’s a fact.”
“And the idea of it is so crazy to me, it’s like the ultimate satire,” Keaton continued. “It’s a perfect satire.”
“Absolutely,” Iñárritu chimed in.
The filmmaker doesn’t expect the hackers to actually follow through on their violent threat, and doesn’t expect Sony Pictures Entertainment employees to apologize for any private conversations that the hackers did expose to the pub.
“The fact that someone has to apologize for their personal and private conversations, whoever they are, I think that’s not fair,”Iñárritu. “I think I may differ from someone else’s opinion on a certain subject, but I will defend to death the right that that person has to express themselves the way they wanted in their private communication, and I think there’s nothing to judge there.”
Iñárritu did not single out any Sony employee, in particular, but studio co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin likely came to the audience members’ minds, as both apologized for “insensitive” racial remarks about President Obama in leaked emails.
In the same breath, Iñárritu lightly criticized the media for sifting through the stolen information and reporting on it.
“I think whoever has the time to be reading that, and to be entertained by that… to me that is ridiculous. I think that’s pathetic,” Iñárritu said. “The participation of it, I think, is wrong. That’s my personal opinion.”
Keaton seemed more amused by the situation than anything, and did not offer any kind of opinion on the ethical debate that has unfolded. Instead he said that if people think him portraying a washed-up actor best known for playing a blockbuster superhero named Birdman is “meta,” than “the meta of this thing is fantastic.”
The comparison Keaton is referencing, of course, is his memorable stint as Batman in two Tim Burton films. While he has had plenty of roles since then, he hasn’t been able to escape the shadow of the DC Comics character. The biggest box office hits he has been involved with in the last decade have been animated (“Cars,” “Toy Story 3”), and his last memorable role as a leading man –and maybe only to fans of the horror genre — was in the critically panned thriller “White Noise.”
Keaton’s decision to take an unconventional dip back into the superhero genre has changed that, though. His performance as a movie star writing, directing and starring in a Broadway play in order to became relevant in pop culture again, as well as admired by the critics, has in fact made Keaton relevant again — and admired by the critics.
Numerous critics associations have named the film and Keaton’s performance as the best of the year. After securing a Golden Globe nomination and Gotham Award, he’s a frontrunner for an Academy Award in the Best Actor category.
Perhaps what makes “Birdman” so good in the eyes of audiences and critics, alike, is that the story is rooted in a truth every human being should be able to relate to.
“I knew that it’s a film that speaks about that voice that we all have, which always contradicts what we sometimes pretend, or kind of shake because it’s trying to judge us,” Iñárritu said. “So that is the ego that is a very internal process that challenges at every level.”
For Keaton, truth is a key element in comedy, and thinks that’s why the Sony situation is “crazy” enough to be the “ultimate satire.”
“That’s the best satire of all, because it’s actually true,” Keaton said. “You know, the reason ‘Dr. Strangelove’ was so good is because it was based on the insanity.”