Michael Keaton may have been the caped star of the 1989 Tim Burton-directed Batman, but Prince‘s multi-platinum-selling Batman soundtrack, which spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, also played a major role. As Variety reports, while the pair did not collaborate directly during the film, Keaton had spent time on a transcontinental flight with Prince, who passed away on Thursday.
The Spotlight star said he was a Prince fan long before their Batman affiliation. “I put him up there with Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, Miles [Davis] among the true greats,” he told Variety. “Some musicians had their moments. He had what seemed like centuries of being great.”
When Keaton first heard the news on the radio of a body being found at Prince’s home, he didn’t think it was the singer’s. “He was one of those people you just assume, ‘I am going to be watching what Prince does when he is 80,” the actor said. “And it is going to be as good or better, and as innovative, as it is now.”
He went on to tout Prince’s individuality. “He did it how he wanted to do it, but it never appeared arrogant, to me anyway,” Keaton said, later adding, “He was a special person who didn’t have to move to New York or Paris or Los Angeles for fame. He stayed right there in Minneapolis. There was no one who did it like Prince did it.”
Keaton is among the legions of celebrities, including Mick Jagger, Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, President Obama and Deborah Allen, who have expressed their love of Prince in the wake of the icon’s untimely death.