Thinking about Tim Burton’s ‘Beetlejuice‘ these days will put a smile on any fan’s face. The movie wasn’t just a cult classic but still finds a huge following with younger viewers with its zany visual styles, humor, offbeat horror, and hidden beneath it all a great message about friendship and family. However, while it was being filmed, not everyone thought it would be a hit and Alec Baldwin was seriously concerned about signing in for the part and was worried that his career would end with this film.
‘Beetlejuice’ was Baldwin’s first feature film role after appearing in television. He played Adam Maitland opposite Geena Davis as his wife, Barbara. The two die early in the film but live on as ghosts who haunt their house to try to keep the new owners from changing it.
As to his concerns about this being a career ending film, Baldwin shared:
“When we did Beetlejuice, I had no idea what it was about, I thought maybe all of our careers are going to end with the release of this film…. we’re all gonna be dead. But when you’re around Tim [Burton], he was just such a kind of, a crazy professor. That’s one of the earliest movies I made, and you see everything that’s involved with making movies brought to bear in a movie like that.”
What really changed things around for him was being able to work with Michael Keaton. The star of the film was able to change Baldwin’s view:
“The thing I remember most was Michael. Keaton knew the secret. I would act, and then I would have some doubts. I was much more neurotic about what I would do when I was very young, starting out with films. And Keaton just came out – he was like the comedy Annie Oakley. He just was so self-assured. He just tore it up. We were doing a scene where he spits the loogie into his jacket, which he completely improvised. I thought I was gonna choke, I was laughing so hard. Keaton amazed me.”
Thankfully for Baldwin, this wasn’t a showstopper to his career but likely what really helped get it off the ground.
You can check out the interview with GC where he talks about his most iconic characters in the video below. The very first segment is where he talks about playing Adam in the film.