You’ve heard the old saying that what goes up must come down? Every great success will allow someone room to make some mistakes, and that’s okay. 

That’s what former co-star Jack Nicholson told Michael Keaton decades ago while on set in London for Tim Burton's 1989 Batman

As Keaton prepares to don the mask and suit of our favorite Caped Crusader in the upcoming DC project, The Flash, the former Batman recalls the advice that Nicholson gave him. This came up during The Hollywood Reporter Drama Actor Emmy Roundtable

Watch the whole thing below!

What advice did Nicholson give?

Keaton told Oscar Isaac, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brain Cox, and Quincy Isaiah, “In the old days, I remember I was in London with Jack Nicholson, we were doing Batman, and he was going somewhere, and he said, ‘Come along with me,’ which is an experience in and of itself.” 

Keaton continues, saying, “So, we’re in the car and he’s talking about the movie. And we all knew it was a huge risk, and if it goes down, [I’d be] going down in flames and that’s going to be a big, hard recovery. But I also knew if it worked, it could change my landscape. So Jack says, ‘Keats, if this thing’s a hit, you can go out and do four or five flops and not even worry about it.’ And maybe it wasn’t four or five, but it used to be you got away with three and it didn’t matter.”

But Keaton believes that Nicholson’s advice no longer works in the landscape of film and TV today.

“Not now, man. You’ve got one miss, which is fucked up.” 

As the conversation continued, Keaton says it’s almost “impossible” to not have to perform to the best of your ability on any project.

“You get there and the work’s the same, man. Even if you’re going to do a 15-second ad for Vaseline, you say, ‘Okay, man, I’m all in,'” Keaton said. “Because for that minute, I don’t know how to not be all in, not because I’m so fucking groovy, because I probably have a fear of lying down, of going, ‘Well, don’t be a dick. Do the work.’ You know what I mean? Every time I think I’m going to cruise on this one, I can’t. You can fight it all you want, but it’s in you somewhere.”

It doesn’t seem like "cruising" is acceptable anymore, and the pressure on actors and creatives feels heavier than ever to perform to the best of their ability. But what happens when you start to feel burnout approaching? 

While Nicholson’s advice still gets passed along to the next generation of actors and filmmakers, Keaton revealed that he found solace in taking a break and “laid low” when he became a father. 

“I thought, ‘Man, if I lose money, I’m good with it,'” Keaton said. “I was having this conversation with Bill Hader the other day, he was going through something, and I said, ‘Dude, trust me. Hang out with your kids as much as you can for as long as you can. You will never regret it. You’re going to lose some jobs. It’s okay. In the long run, that’s the thing [that matters].'”

While money is always a nice thing to have, having peace of mind and enjoying the time with the people you love, as well as yourself, is something to cherish. We all want to perform to the best of our abilities, but we can’t do that if we have nothing left to give.

Take a moment, get some rest, and, when you’re mentally and physically ready, get back on the horse and make something great. 

How do you step back and relax from filmmaking? Let us know your treat-yourself tips in the comments! 

Source: The Hollywood Reporter