The opening sequence to the first official trailer for Birdman, the latest from director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams), finds a haggard Michael Keaton lumbering through a backstage area to the tune of a maddeningly slowed down version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” “How did we end up here? In this dump?” he croaks in a voice over. “You were a movie star, remember?”
What follows is a surreal sequence packed with explosions, shots of seals washed up on a beach and Keaton power-walking through Times Square in his underwear while being chased by reporters and a marching band. And that’s just the half of it.
In Iñárritu’s new film, Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, an actor known for portraying the superhero Birdman and who now must grapple with his floundering career while trying to anchor a Broadway play. The film boasts an excellent supporting cast that includes Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough and Edward Norton, who plays a fellow actor trying to steal the spotlight from Thomson. Fittingly, the trailer ends with a ridiculous, hilarious shot of Keaton and Norton — the latter in only his underwear — wrestling each other like children while two incredulous stage hands watch.
Birdman will be released this fall and is Iñárritu’s first movie in four years, following his 2010 drama Biutiful. While the Mexican director is known for intense, heavy tragedies, Birdman marks his first foray into comedy — though by the looks of the teaser. you should expect some very dark laughs.