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Edward Norton and Michael Keaton will star in the black comedy 'Birdman'

Edward Norton and Michael Keaton have signed on to appear in the comedy 'Birdman,' in which Keaton will play an actor famous for portraying a superhero who tries to revitalize his career. Edward Norton is the stage actor who attempts to stop him.

By Hannah Shaw-WilliamsScreen Rant / April 18, 2013

Edward Norton will star with Michael Keaton in the comedy 'Birdman.'

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

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It would be unfair to describe Michael Keaton as being out of work. He recently signed on to star in the adaptation of video game series Need for Speed, alongside Dominic Cooper and Aaron Paul – and though nothing has officially been announced by Disney, it’s suspected that he’ll reprise his role as Ken in the next Toy Story movie.

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Perhaps it’s because his career is relatively healthy at the moment that Keaton is willing to deliver a self-deprecating performance in another of his upcoming projects. Fox Searchlight has announced that principal photography has begun this week on Birdman (alternative title: The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a new comedy from Alejandro González Iñárritu. Here’s the official synopsis, courtesy of the press release:

“[Birdman is] a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Keaton) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.”

Also appearing in the film is Edward Norton, who, according to Deadline, was cast as an “egotistical lead stage actor” who disrupts Keaton’s attempts to create the Broadway play that will rejuvenate his career. Norton has something of a reputation for being difficult to work with – so much so that Kevin Feige more or less explicitly stated this as the reason for dumping him in favor of Mark Ruffalo when casting Hulk in The Avengers. It will be interesting to see whether Norton is willing to indulge in a little self-parody for his role in Birdman.

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