Michael Keaton Says Merchandising of Beetlejuice Character Was ‘Weird’

Michael Keaton is opening up about the “surreal” process of returning to his beloved character for the upcoming Beetlejuice Beetlejuice sequel.

The actor, who debuted the ghoul Betelgeuse in Tim Burton‘s Beetlejuice in 1988, recently told Empire magazine that he had to look past the pop culture aspect of his character and find the quirky source ahead of filming.

“There’s been so much merchandising of it, I had to drop back to where it started,” Keaton explained. “I had to go, ‘What was my unusual imagination even thinking about when I was developing it in the first place?’ As opposed to seeing a coffee mug or a golf club cover [featuring Betelgeuse’s face].”

The actor admitted that watching his character enter the mainstream merchandising world was a “fucking weird” experience.

“To be honest with you — I’m being very frank — it was off-putting, to look and go, ‘I don’t want to look like all these little things, fuck that — what was the thing that started this?’” he added.

However, Keaton feels he was successful at getting back to the basics of Betelgeuse for Burton’s sequel, due out Sept. 6

“I love it,” he said of the movie. “I absolutely love this thing. And I don’t [usually] talk like that. I unabashedly love this. It was not easy to pull off, and I think we did it in spades.”

The director also praised Keaton’s performance, telling the publication, “It was like he was possessed by a demon, because he just went right back into it.”

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice also stars Jenna Ortega, Winona Ryder, Monica Bellucci, Willem Dafoe, Justin Theroux and Catherine O’Hara.

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