'Birdman' Star Michael Keaton Snaps at Reporter: "That's Lazy and a Cliche"

Featured in THR's Rule Breakers 2014 issue, the actor — who last year wrote an ESPN blog and is now an Oscar contender — dismisses the idea of his own comeback narrative

This story first appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Since when has Michael Keaton not been breaking rules?

During the mid-1980s, he walked away from a third Batman film despite a reported $15 million payday when director Tim Burton dropped out over creative differences. Nor does Keaton, 63, regret passing up the role in J.J. Abrams' Lost that went to Matthew Fox. "I go from one thing to the other, and sometimes I stop acting altogether," explains the actor. "Sometimes I raise a kid, and sometimes I build a house in Montana."

Read more Golden Globes: 'Birdman' Flies Above the Other Film Nominees

Late last year, Keaton wrote an ESPN blog about his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, he's poised to earn his first Oscar nomination (having snagged Golden Globe and SAG noms) for Birdman, Alejandro G. Inarritu's dark comedy about a washed-up superhero-movie star who attempts a comeback by mounting a Broadway show.

But if you think Keaton took the part of Riggan Thompson because it bears a resemblance to his past, think again. "I've never related less to a character," says Keaton, who adds that he signed on for the challenge of shooting a film in a series of long takes. (Birdman has soared since its limited debut in October, earning north of $20 million to date at the box office.) "This movie is thick with humanity," he says before dismissing the idea of his own comeback narrative: "That's lazy and a cliche. It's not me at all."

Read below for the full Rule Breakers 2014 list:

See Exclusive Portraits of the Rule Breakers

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'Guardians of the Galaxy's' Chris Pratt, James Gunn Photographed in Bed Together, Reading Comic Books

Taylor Swift Reveals Surprising Industry Reaction to Spotify Decision

'Chef' Director Jon Favreau, Roy Choi Reunite: "Now We Get to Make a Real Restaurant"

Film Fighters, All in One Frame: J.J. Abrams, Judd Apatow, Bennett Miller, Christopher Nolan and Edgar Wright

'How to Get Away With Murder's' Viola Davis: Why I'm Happy to No Longer Play "Sassy"

Ethan Hawke Reveals Early Concerns Over 'Boyhood's' 12-Year Shoot: "It Could Fall Totally Flat on Its Face"

'Transparent' Boss Reveals the Moment She Decided to Make a Show About a Transgender Parent

Deal of the Year: Disney's Nearly $1B Acquisition of Maker Studios

John Green, Shailene Woodley and 'Fault in Our Stars' Producers Reunite

'Lego Movie' Filmmakers Reveal Fib Told to Warner Bros.