Father and son look alike

Does junior really have his father’s nose?
A common bit of parenting folklore holds that babies tend to look more like their fathers than their mothers, a claim with a reasonable evolutionary explanation. Fathers, after all, do not share a mother’s certainty that a baby is theirs, and are more likely to invest whatever resources they have in their own offspring. Human evolution, then, could have favored children that resemble their fathers, at least early on, as a way of confirming paternity.
The paternal-resemblance hypothesis got some scientific backing in 1995, when a study in Nature by Nicholas Christenfeld and Emily Hill of the University of California, San Diego, showed that people were much better at matching photos of one-year-old children with pictures of their fathers than with photos of their mothers. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)
Case closed? Hardly. “It’s a very sexy result, it’s seductive, it’s what evolutionary psychology would predict—and I think it’s wrong,” says psychologist Robert French of the National Center for Scientific Research in France. A subsequent body of research, building over the years in the journal Evolution & Human Behavior, has delivered results in conflict with the 1995 paper, indicating that young children resemble both parents equally. Some studies have even found that newborns tend to resemble their mothers more than their fathers.
In a 1999 study published in Evolution & Human Behavior, French and Serge Brédart of the University of Liège in Belgium set out to replicate the paternal-resemblance finding and were unable to do so. In a photo-matching trial with pictures of one-, three- and five-year-old children and their parents, subjects identified mothers and fathers equally well.
A more recent study in the same journal employed a larger set of photos than were used by either Christenfeld and Hill or Brédart and French in their studies and still concluded that most infants resemble both parents equally. “Our research, on a much larger sample of babies than Christenfeld and Hill’s, shows that some babies resemble their father more, some babies resemble their mother more, and most babies resemble both parents to about the same extent,” says Paola Bressan, a psychologist at the University of Padova in Italy who co-authored the 2004 study. Bressan added that, to the best of her knowledge, “no study has either replicated or supported” the 1995 finding that babies preferentially resemble their fathers.
Two other studies in Evolution & Human Behavior, one in 2000 and one in 2007, found that newborns actually look more like their mothers than their fathers in the first three days of their lives, as judged by unrelated assessors. But the babies’ mothers tend to say just the opposite, emphasizing the child’s resemblance to the father. That, too, has a possible evolutionary explanation, according to D. Kelly McLain of Georgia Southern University and his co-authors of the 2000 study. “The bias in how mothers remark resemblance does not reflect actual resemblance and may be an evolved or conditioned response to assure domestic fathers of their paternity,” the researchers wrote.
McLain and his colleagues even speculated that evolutionary pressures may have actually reduced the amount of paternal resemblance in newborns, thus ensuring that a putative father will care for a child even if the father has been cuckolded. That both high and low degrees of paternal resemblance have ready explanations highlights one of the challenges in linking subtle human features to changes that played out over millions of years of evolution. “It’s kind of hard to distinguish ‘just-so’ stories from things that are really a product of evolution,” French says.

13 Celeb Kids Who Look Just Like Their Dad & Are Just As Cool

Finding familiar features reflected in your child’s smile or eyes is a rewarding moment for many parents. For some lucky families, though, seeing that familial similarity isn’t difficult at all. As these celeb kids who look just like their dad prove, sometimes those shared genes are impossible to miss. From sports legends to reality TV stars, plenty of famous dads have kids that are basically clones.

Glancing through these pics will probably remind you of a common bit of parenting lore, the idea that babies tend to look more like their fathers than their mothers overall. This idea is based on a 1995 study in Nature from Nicholas Christenfeld and Emily Hill that claimed babies look more like their dads so fathers will recognize and care for the kid. It’s a cool idea, but recent studies have shot down the possibility. “Our research, on a much larger sample of babies than Christenfeld and Hill’s, shows that some babies resemble their father more, some babies resemble their mother more, and most babies resemble both parents to about the same extent,” said Paola Bressan, a psychologist at the University of Padova, in Scientific American. Basically, kids have a high chance of looking like either or both parents.

But as these sons of the celebrities prove, when kids do resemble their dads, it’s impossible to deny that connection. Read on to see who is definitely their father’s kid.

1. John Legend & Luna

johnlegend on Instagram

Singer/songwriter John Legend and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, now have two children together. And as this pic of John Legend and his daughter Luna shows, the family resemblance is pretty strong. Just look at those gorgeous smiles.

2. Jay Z & Blue Ivy

beyonce on Instagram

Sure, Blue Ivy looks a lot like her mom, superstar singer and businesswoman Beyoncé Knowles. But the rapper and businessman Jay-Z also bears a strong likeness to his daughter, as this sweet pic shows.

3. Billy Joel & Alexa Ray Joel

alexarayjoel on Instagram

The pianist and singer-songwriter Alexa Ray Joel is definitely her father’s daughter. The Piano Man himself must be proud.

4. Liv Tyler & Steven Tyler

misslivalittle on Instagram

Actress and model Liv Tyler definitely resembles her dear old dad, the lead singer of Aerosmith Steven Tyler.

5. Deacon Reese Philippe & Ryan Philippe… & Ava, Too

ryanphillippe on Instagram

OK, Ryan and Deacon are practically twins. And although Ava Philippe does look a lot like her mother, actress and producer Reese Witherspoon, it’s clear she shares a lot of her looks with her dad, too.

6. North, Saint, Chicago & Kanye West

kimkardashian on Instagram

Take a look at this beautiful family. Kanye’s three kids bear more than a passing resemblance to their father. He may be a renowned rapper, businessman, producer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur, but to these kids, he’s simply dad.

7. Maxwell, Ace, & Eric Johnson

jessicasimpson on Instagram

Maxwell Drew definitely resembles her mother, singer Jessica Simpson, especially with the matching dresses, but she also takes after her dad. While little Ace definitely looks like former NFL player Eric Johnson, especially when they’re rocking similar pink suits.

8. Jagger Snow & Evan Ross

ashleesimpsonross on Instagram

The son of singer Diana Ross, actor Evan Ross has a daughter with with his wife, singer Ashlee Simpson. Jagger Snow looks so much like her daddy.

9. Jane, Billy, & Jimmy Kimmel

jimmykimmel on Instagram

This charming photo proves comedian Jimmy Kimmel strongly resembles his young children Jane and Billy. (Just look at the noses.) And yes, that’s the son whose health struggles Kimmel has so candidly explained, as noted in Romper, which makes the pic that much more poignant.

10. Riley & Stephen Curry

stephencurry30 on Instagram

The daughter of the NBA star Stephen Curry looks just like her daddy in the most adorable way possible.

11. Cristiano Junior & Cristiano Ronaldo

cristiano on Instagram

Like father, like son? Time will tell whether Cristiano Junior also becomes an athlete like his father, legendary professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.

12. Samuel & Sean Lowe

seanloweksu on Instagram

Well, this is a charming pair. Former star of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Sean Lowe is now dad to the adorable Samuel Thomas, as well as his newborn son Isaiah Hendrix.

13. Prince George & Prince William

kensingtonroyal on Instagram

Of course the royals also deserve a mention. Prince George of Cambridge is pretty much the spitting image of his father, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and doesn’t Princess Charlotte more and more like her mother, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, every day?

Read: Stay-at-home dads are reshaping American masculinity

This seems like it makes sense, at least within a certain retrograde framework. As the thinking goes, evolution might prefer babies who look like their dads, as maternity is clear while paternity is in doubt. In other words, if dads don’t know for sure that little ones are theirs, they won’t tend to them. But subsequent studies couldn’t replicate this result. “It’s a very sexy result, it’s seductive, it’s what evolutionary psychology would predict—and I think it’s wrong,” the psychologist Robert French, of the National Center for Scientific Research, in France, told Scientific American about the study.

Researchers stayed curious about this question. In 2004 Paola Bressan, a psychologist at the University of Padua, and Massimo Grassi, also of the University of Padua, tried again to get to the bottom of this question of familial resemblance, and found that children tend to resemble their parents equally, but the resemblance isn’t very strong. They theorized that this ambiguity might be advantageous if the paternity is unclear. “Men tend to invest more in children who (they believe) resemble them more; thus, children who look like their ‘social’ father—that is, like their mother’s husband—fare better than those who don’t,” Bressan told me. “The problem is that a child’s biological and social fathers are not necessarily the same person.”

Overall, “the evidence is slightly in favor ,” says Steven Platek, an evolutionary psychologist who studies this topic. Platek thinks the data are distorted by unclear paternity, which he estimates occurs in 2 to 30 percent of births.

Scientists can only dream of perfect data. “An ideal would be random paternity tests on 10,000-plus father-infant pairs so we could know the going base rates of false paternity,” says Tony Volk, a developmental scientist who studies families at Brock University, in Canada. “But that hasn’t happened.” Researchers mostly find out cases of mistaken paternity by accident.

Read: Are fathers necessary?

Whatever the case, the researchers I spoke with seemed to agree on one point: The most clear-cut thing is not an actual resemblance, but that so many people perceive one. “Independent of whether the baby actually looks like Dad is the perception that the baby shares resemblance with Dad,” Platek told me.

Platek said I should be happy that seemingly everyone I know thinks my child looks like my husband. “When the perception and the reality match, the child treatment is the highest.” The father will freely make paternal investments in the child. Apparently when you think the child looks like you, even the diapers don’t smell as bad, Platek noted jokingly.

I chafed against this. It seems like we’re all self-deceptive idiots massaging the egos of fathers in an effort to get them to take care of their own children. (Interestingly, the mother’s family is one of the most common perpetrators of this effort. Platek told me research on families in hospital nurseries showed that the mother’s family members were the most likely to remark on how much the baby looked like the father.) It also felt regressive—that my husband would need our child to resemble him for him to get involved in parenting. Most important, I also have an ego and a face, and would like for people to tell me that my daughter resembles me.

A new study suggests that children who resemble their dads are healthier, but only if they’re born to single moms.

The study found that when these babies look more like their dads, they wind up healthier when they are 1 year old compared with little ones who look less like dad.

The reason? Babies who are a chip off the old block tend to get more attention from their fathers during that first year, new research suggests.

“Fathers are important in raising a child, and it manifests itself in the health of the child,” Solomon Polachek, a professor of economics at Binghamton University in New York, said in a statement.

However, the study looked only at children born to single moms, so these children didn’t live with their dads — a situation in which dads tend to be more uncertain of their paternity. Children who are born to married parents who both live with them are unlikely to see this effect, because men are more certain of their parenthood and spend more time with children who live under the same roof, the researchers wrote in the study.

The findings come from a cohort of 715 babies who were part of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study. Babies in the study were born to parents who were never married, and the children lived with their moms, only seeing their fathers on visits. At the time of the child’s birth, the study authors asked both parents, “Who does the baby look like?” (This is when fathers who are uncertain of their paternity usually decide whether a baby is theirs, the study authors noted.) Babies were classified as “looking like dad” if both parents noted some resemblance.

It turned out that little ones who looked like their dad spent the equivalent of 2.5 extra days per month with the child. Those extra daddy days meant the child got more adult supervision. Dads who spent time with their children were also more likely to learn about any health issues that needed to be addressed, and to know if children wanted for things like clothing, food or other necessities, the researchers suggested.

In turn, this translated to better health relative to babies who didn’t resemble dad, at least based on subjective health ratings by the parents, as well as hospital visits and asthma episodes, the study authors found.

This behavior has its roots in evolution, the researchers suggested in the study, which was published Jan. 18 in the Journal of Health Economics.

“Those fathers that perceive the baby’s resemblance to them are more certain the baby is theirs, and thus spend more time with the baby,” Polachek said.

Evolutionary theory predicts that parents will spend more time caring for children who are genetically related to them, thus upping the odds that those children grow up, have babies of their own and pass on their genes, the researchers wrote in the paper. By contrast, by evolutionary standards, “investments in unrelated children are deemed wasteful since they reduce investment in genetically related offspring.”

Originally published on Live Science.

The thick black curls that helped make Michael Keaton look so manic in all those 1980s comedies, and which he then tore at as a tormented Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton’s Batman movies, are long gone; but the satyr-like eyes are unchanged. As he walks into a London hotel room on a grey Saturday morning, holding a cup of coffee, he looks strikingly different from the man I have spent four decades watching on screen: he has the trim, spry build of a wiry woodsman rather than a 66-year-old actor, thanks to half a lifetime spent in rural Montana, fishing and hunting. His walk is reminiscent of a rooster’s strut, with his chest puffed out and a bounce on his toes; that swagger we saw in 2014’s Birdman, for which Keaton won a Golden Globe as the eponymous former superhero actor, was not a put on, it turns out.

“Hadley, huh? My niece is called Hadley,” he says, shaking my hand, and embarks on a winding digression about Ernest Hemingway, whose first wife was called Hadley, and various Hemingway descendants whom Keaton has met over the years, and do I know them (I do not), and how I really ought to meet them. So was his niece named after Hadley Hemingway, I manage to ask.

“Huh? Oh no, I just think her mom liked the name,” he says, and he’s off again, talking about everything from whether or not he’s a liberal (he is, mostly) to why climate change shouldn’t be politicised. Keaton is not a straight Q&A kind of guy; his approach to conversation is a little like his eyebrows, looping in memorable and unexpected directions.

He has made a career out of taking the unpredictable route: you can never guess his next role, and then he never plays it the way you’d expect. In his breakthrough movie, 1983’s Mr Mom, Keaton played a stay-at-home father at a time when such a concept was almost unheard of, and he played him as a man who has no idea how to do any of the stereotypically masculine jobs around the house; when asked if he’s rewiring the house with 220 volts, Keaton adlibbed, “220, 221, whatever it takes”. He was the dazzlingly frenetic lead in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, a largely improvised performance opposite fellow ghosts Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. With Burton again, he played Batman as a conflicted nerd, rather than a grinning muscle man. In Birdman, he plays an actor so neurotic, he ends up running through Manhattan in his underwear.

With Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice (1988). Photograph: Moviestore/Rex/

He surprises me today by arriving with a big grin, which is unexpected in a man who has never made any secret of his dislike of interviews: you don’t move to the middle of Montana at the peak of your celebrity if you enjoy being the centre of attention. But he is clearly having a ball on this, the second wave of his career. Since Birdman, he has played the editor of the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team in the 2015 ensemble movie Spotlight, which won a Best Picture Oscar; and he was a curveball choice as Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a franchise, in 2016’s too-little-seen The Founder.

“It’s all fun, man,” Keaton says, “and at a point when you don’t have anything to prove? Yeah. We’re all here for a millisecond, so how bad can this be?” he says, his drawn-out vowels (“maaan”, “baaad”) revealing his Pittsburgh origins. This month, he plays a CIA special ops trainer, Stan Hurley, in the Bourne-esque American Assassin. Hurley is training up a new damaged-but-brilliant recruit (Dylan O’Brien), who wants to kill Middle Eastern terrorists after they killed his girlfriend. Keaton’s crazy eyebrows are put to good use as the on-the-edge mentor, but it is a somewhat baffling choice for him: the movie is undeniably generic for an actor who has always eschewed straightforward genre. But maybe this is just another of Keaton’s surprises?

“Yeah, exactly, and not to be cute or ‘cheeky’, as they say” – he switches mercifully briefly into an appalling English accent – “but that’s what keeps me interested. My boredom level is fairly low. And that’s too bad, but that’s the way it is, and this genre, a committed action thriller movie, was just different for me. A change.”

In new film American Assassin. Photograph: Allstar/CBS Films

I don’t get the impression it’s a change he’ll necessarily repeat. When I mention one particularly intense scene, he shrugs: “I think I’m OK in it. I’d like another shot at it, but the director wanted to turn the volume up. You have to ask yourself, ‘OK, what kind of movie is this? It’s an action movie. OK.’ You have to buy into the programme.”

After becoming known for his hyper-comedic performances in the early 80s, Keaton switched to dramatic roles – first as a recovering drug addict in Clean And Sober (a flop) and then as Batman (one of the biggest box office hits of its day). In the space of five years, he went from total unknown to household name. He also got married, to actor Caroline McWilliams, and had a son, Sean. Can he even remember any of that presumably pretty overwhelming decade?

“Not really, no, and that’s a good way of putting it: married, house, kid right away, career, a lot of attention, which is not something I’m crazy about. I don’t hate it, but it’s never my first choice. It was mostly good,” he says. He and McWilliams divorced in 1990.

With director Tim Burton. Photograph: BEI/Rex/

Keaton’s Batman completely changed the way superheroes were portrayed in Hollywood movies, coining the reluctant, self-loathing alter ego that is still de rigueur 30 years later (Christian Bale’s Batman, Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, almost all of the X-Men). But he was a controversial choice and fans bombarded the Warner Bros studio with furious letters, insisting Keaton was too weird and weedy, not understanding that this was exactly why Burton cast him: “He’s got all that wild energy in his eyes, which would compel him to put on a bat-suit… He does it because he needs to, because he’s not this gigantic strapping macho man,” Burton later said.

I interviewed Burton a few years ago and, meeting Keaton, it is obvious why the two men feel such an affinity (they are currently working together again, on Burton’s live-action remake of Dumbo). Although Keaton isn’t as outwardly eccentric, he has a similar tendency towards unmediated stream-of-consciousness responses, and blunt plain-speaking – both the opposite of slick Hollywood schmooze. It must have been particularly hard for them, facing so much scrutiny during Batman, but Keaton insists he wasn’t aware of it – or not until he happened to pick up the business section of a newspaper and saw a cartoon of his face in an article suggesting that he, personally, would damage Warner Bros’ stock. “I truly didn’t understand why people cared one way or another, and I can’t believe people still care. I just thought, ‘I know what I’m doing, and I could be wrong, but in terms of what Tim and I discussed for the movie, I knew we were right on,’” he says now.

And they were: Burton’s first Batman film remains one of the most interesting big-budget movies ever made, with Keaton’s psychologically subtle performance a major part of that. But unlike Riggan, the Birdman character who becomes obsessed by his superhero alter ego, Keaton walked away, refusing to make Batman 3 when Burton wasn’t rehired as director. Was he also just sick of the bat-suit by then?

In Batman (1989). Photograph: Allstar

“ just wasn’t any good, man. I tried to be patient, but after a certain point, I was like, I can’t take this any more, this is going to be horrible. But, look, there was some really horrible taste in the 90s, and I probably contributed to that, unfortunately. It was a time of nouveau riche excess – everyone was known for their jets and their stuff. And I thought, I’m in this job for the long run, I don’t want this. And the truth is, I’m not boasting, but I was correct. There are a whole load of people who ran things that are long gone.”

Joel Schumacher’s two Batman movies were notoriously terrible, starring first Val Kilmer and then George Clooney. A few years later, Keaton had a cameo as a detective in Steven Soderbergh’s Out Of Sight with Clooney. Did they swap bat tales?

“I didn’t,” he says, “but he used to shout at me, ‘Hey, the brotherhood!’ And I’d go, ‘Hey!’ But I had no idea what he meant. Swear to God! And he did it a bunch of times: ‘Brotherhood!’ And then someone explained it to me and I was like, ‘Ohhhhh!’ I mean, I think I’d forgotten he was in .”

After Batman, Keaton took a series of notably unstarry roles – a tenant from hell opposite Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine in Pacific Heights, a hammy Dogberry in Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing. There was a run of comedies, including Harold Ramis’ Multiplicity, in which he played a man who clones himself, that were smart and funny, but never going to set the world on fire. Was he deliberately trying to get out of the shadow of the bat signal, or did he just like the scripts?

With Melanie Griffith in Pacific Heights (1990). Photograph: Fox/Kobal/Rex/

“It was both,” he says. “I do what interests me.”

So he would never do anything just for the money?

“Look, it’s not like I don’t think about the business – I am cognisant of that side of things – but if you overthink the money part, you tend to mess it up. I actually thought might not work, but I also thought, even if it doesn’t work, I want to be a part of this kind of creativity. I want to be around this. It’s like making movies with Tim ,” he says, those eyebrows rising in various directions. “Being around that is so much fun, you just want to be in that environment.”

After Out Of Sight, he pretty much disappeared for next 16 years. What happened?

“Look, there’s two different things here,” he says, leaning forward and tapping my knee, emphasising his points in a manner that feels more paternal than creepy. “There’s me taking a pause: I really like life, doing things, having a normal life. So there was that. And there was me getting bored, hearing the sound of my voice, seeing the same old tricks. So I may have lost interest, combined with a whole lot of people not knocking on my door. It wasn’t just me. But I also consciously started to slowly change things internally, and it worked.”

In Spotlight (2015). Photograph: LMK

What does he mean by changing things internally? Dealing with the mental side of things?

“Yeah, yeah. Just thinking about things, asking what you want, what you don’t want, how am I going to get to there? And it takes a lot of stumbling around, and it takes discipline.”

He spent those years hanging out in Montana, hunting with neighbours and walking in the woods. His family visited him, and there have been girlfriends (he is in a relationship now, but it’s the one subject he refuses to discuss), but in the main he was on his own. It’s the life, he says, that he dreamed of as a little boy.


Michael Keaton grew up just outside Pittsburgh, and his real name was and remains Michael Douglas; by the time he started acting, the other one had got there first. Did he ever tell him that he stole his name? Keaton literally spits out his coffee with laughter. “Kinda! Once we got something mixed in the mail, something from one of the unions, and I had to return it to him and we talked about it then. He’s a really nice guy, Michael, but it’s not even their name, I think?”

No, Kirk changed it from Danielovitch, I say.

“Russian Jews, right? It’s funny.”

Keaton was the youngest of seven children in a working-class family, and they never went to the cinema because it was too expensive to buy tickets for all the kids. But he loved to watch old movies on TV, especially ones starring James Cagney and John Garfield. Was he drawn to acting because he was used to having an audience of siblings?

In Birdman (2014). Photograph: Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Evere

“Probably. I was talking about this with Colin Farrell the other day on the Dumbo set, actually, because he’s another youngest, and we youngests always relate to one another. You also get away with more, because by that point your parents are like, ‘Who’s that again? Oh, yeah, he’s cute, he’s been around a while.’”

He describes himself as a “weird” kid, but then corrects himself: “I mean, I don’t think I was weird. I’d be happy having me as a kid. I was a kid who liked adventure stories, who fantasised too much, who was extremely physically active. I had friends at school, but I wasn’t really social. I didn’t really like sleepovers – I liked sleeping outside.”

This gets him thinking about his son, Sean, now 34, when he was a boy. “He was just a really social little guy, so thoughtful and sensitive and practical, and always hanging out with friends, whereas I wanted to be on my own playing in the woods,” he says, his voice softening.

Presumably that’s because he had to fight for space, whereas Sean was an only child and happy to fill the house with friends?

“Yeah, probably. He was always hanging out in groups and going to someone’s house, I remember that,” he says.

After he and Sean’s mother divorced, Keaton moved to Montana. He dated Courteney Cox, and Michelle Pfeiffer, but never married again. I ask if it was strange having an only child when he grew up in such a big family.

“Not strange, exactly. I wished I’d had more, but then Sean told me he liked being an only child,” he smiles.

With son Sean in 2015. Photograph: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Dom Perignon

Sean Douglas is now a Grammy award-nominated songwriter who has worked with Madonna and Demi Lovato, and who is routinely referred to as “Michael Keaton’s hot son”. The two are often each other’s dates to award ceremonies: Sean came to the Golden Globes when his dad won for Birdman, and Keaton tearfully thanked him, calling him his “best friend”. When Keaton was last year added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sean gave the speech: “I’ve seen everything from Batman to bath time when I was a young kid. I’m so proud to be your son. You’re my hero, my best friend and I love you so much.” Keaton, standing behind his son and moving excitedly from side to side, pinked with delight.

Initially, Keaton thought about going into comedy rather than acting, and you can still find some of his very funny standup routines online. The most striking thing about them is how little he has changed: on stage, he comes across as a nervy, neurotic fast-talker given to flights of surrealism. In one routine, he talks about how just a look from a stranger on the streets of New York can send him into therapy; in another, he imagines what it would be like if the cartoon strips that used to come with gum packets explored philosophical concepts. “My mom’s side of the family and my brothers and sisters are really funny – that’s the Irish Catholic side. My father’s side, the Scottish Protestant side? Not so much,” he says.

In Mr Mom (1983). Photograph: Fox/Kobal/Rex/

I tell him I always thought it was a shame he didn’t do more John Hughes comedies after Mr Mom. Keaton reels back in his chair, hands over his face. “Aw, man! Planes, Trains & Automobiles – that’s the movie I really wish I’d been in!” he says, citing the 1987 John Hughes classic starring John Candy and Steve Martin. “Do you remember when people would write off John Hughes and those movies he made?”

Actually, I say, I wrote a book about why those movies are the most important ever made.

“Really?” he cries, bouncing out of his seat. A publicist comes in to tell us our time is up, but he waves her away. “Wait a minute, she’s really smart and I need to talk to her about this,” he says pointing at me, although I suspect this is more about John Hughes than my intellect. “I mean, if you look at the specificity of John Hughes’ direction in those movies, it’s incredible,” he continues. “These weren’t just cute little movies; these were about the economy, employment, unemployment, small towns. Man, you got me going on this!”

We spend 10 minutes nerding out over The Breakfast Club, before he thinks back to when he met Hughes while making Mr Mom: “I read the script and I thought, ‘Wow, this is really funny, this guy has something.’ And then I met John and I said, ‘You ought to direct this .’ But he said no, he was off to direct those movies starring people closer to your age,” he says, referring to the teen movies, which is sweet, because I am in my late 30s. “But, yeah, I would have loved to have worked with him. That would have been an experience.”

Michael Keaton, Brat Pack fan? The man truly is full of surprises.

• American Assassin is released on Thursday.

  • This article was corrected on 11 September 2017. Keaton played the editor of the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team in the 2015 movie Spotlight, not the editor of the paper itself, as originally stated.

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Michael Keaton: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Actor

And they might surprise you.

Veteran actor Michael Keaton has been a member of the entertainment industry since the 1970s, most recently garnering global attention for his 2015 Oscar-nominated leading performance in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman.

But beyond his recognition as Jack in 1983’s Mr. Mom, Bruce Wayne in 1989’s Batman or Betelgeuse in 1988’s Beetlejuice, The Hollywood Reporter looks at five facts you probably didn’t know about Keaton.

Real Name: Michael Douglas

Michael Keaton was born Michael John Douglas in Coraopolis, Penn. and has six siblings: three brothers and three sisters. He opted to change his last name to Keaton (not because he liked Diane Keaton’s last name, despite rumors) because there were two other actors with his birth name: “Yeah, I had to change my name because there were two other actors registered at Equity with that name. One of them is doing quite well from what I understand, the other is making cheap porn movies,” he said, according to the Golden Globes website.

Doesn’t Get Drunk

Though he enjoys a good time, the actor admitted that he doesn’t get drunk. “I don’t get drunk. It’s not that I don’t have a drink now and again, but I’ve had my days. I’ll tell you, though, when I did it was always fun,” he said in an interview with Empire Magazine. When asked what he would like to have written on his tombstone, he replied: “He was always a good time.”


Keaton owns a ranch in Montana and spends portions of his summers visiting his land and fly-fishing the local streams, a hobby he picked up around the age of 25.

“My favorite fishing is this: Your day’s kind of complete. You did everything you had to get done and you’ve got about an hour left of, it’s dusk. You walk and say, ‘I’m going to take a walk down to the creek.’ You grab your rods, just take a walk down. You look. There might be a hatch. You catch one nice fish and go home,” he told fly-fishing website MidCurrent.com. “What an unbelievable luxury I have that I can even think about doing that. Go down and catch a wild trout out of a stream in the evening? I mean, come on, that’s like a little kid’s dream.”

His Self-Admitted “Unpredictability” Is Hard to Live With

When asked by Elle what the hardest thing about living with him is, he said “Unpredictability … Unpredictability means what it means. I don’t know how you define it. It is what it is.” He continued, “If I knew what it was, I guess that would mean I wasn’t actually unpredictable.”

Worked on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Before becoming a household name and scoring an Oscar nomination, one of Keaton’s early career steps was working on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. “Back in the late 1970s when I still lived in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Penn., I worked for a couple of years at WQED, the public television station there. I was on the floor crew for a lot of shows, including Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Keaton said in a special interview about the late TV host. “I was even on the program a couple of times, but that was back when I was a serious actor,” he said sarcastically.

“Yes, I knew Fred Rogers and I worked with Fred Rogers and he was essentially the same guy off camera as he was on camera,” Keaton said.