When a movie trailer opens with a tighty whities-clad Michael Keaton meditating mid-air in his apartment, you know you’re in for an absurd three minutes. “How did we end up here?” the gruff-voiced actor narrates. “This place is horrible, smells like balls.” And the official international trailer for Birdman, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams), only gets more bizarre from there.
The film stars Keaton as Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor (best known as fan-favorite superhero Birdman) who attempts to revive his career by writing, directing and starring in a Broadway play. The trailer offers a bit of background on the story, showing Keaton’s character as he deals with skepticism from everyone in his life – including his daughter (Emma Stone) and a hot-headed rival actor played by Edward Norton. Mostly, though, the clip previews exactly how insane this film will be – with guns, explosions, backstage make-out sessions, a screaming Zach Galifianakis and Keaton jumping off a tall building.
The first Birdman teaser took a similarly surreal approach – including shots of seals washed up on a beach and Keaton strolling through Times Square in his underwear while being hounded by reporters and a marching band.
The film’s dark comedic tone is a change in direction for Iñárritu, whose previous films have been heavy dramas (including his most recent, 2010’s Biutiful). Birdman premieres at the Venice International Film Festival later in August, with a wide release date set for October 17th.