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The Bill Murray Movie That Michael Keaton Regrets Passing On

Michael Keaton is one of the most accomplished and acclaimed actors in Hollywood, with approximately 90 acting credits over almost half a century (per IMDb). In the 1970s, he debuted on the cherished children's TV show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." Keaton began his path to becoming a movie star in the 1980s by appearing in entertaining features like "Night Shift," "Mr. Mom," and "Johnny Dangerously," while many '80s and '90s kids fondly associate him with his remarkable roles in the Tim Burton classics "Beetlejuice," "Batman," and "Batman Returns."

While Keaton consistently acted in well-known films throughout the '90s, his fame faded a bit by the beginning of the new millennium. In the 2010s, Alejandro G. Iñárritu helped resurrect his career by casting him in "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)," which features a protagonist who is a lot like Keaton himself. The performance earned Keaton his first Oscar nomination (via IMDb). 

Since then, Keaton has regained his screen success in recent years. He just starred in Hulu's "Dopesick" and will play the Caped Crusader again in Andy Muschietti's highly anticipated "The Flash" film. The actor has used his versatility to bring multiple celebrated characters to life, but there is one part in particular that the veteran thespian wished he had not passed on.

Michael Keaton regrets not playing Phil Connors in Groundhog Day

While promoting "Birdman" in 2014, Michael Keaton told Entertainment Weekly that he regrets not taking the lead role of Phil Connors in the '90s cult classic "Groundhog Day." Keaton revealed that he didn't understand the weatherman protagonist and therefore turned down the role, believing that Phil "sounds like the kind of wry, sardonic" characters he'd portrayed in the past and not wanting to get typecast as one character over and over again. Keaton said that he thought Harold Ramis' hit "ended up being so great," but he also admitted that he wouldn't have been able to play the main character "better than Bill Murray did it."

Bill Murray's charm and comedic brilliance ensured "Groundhog Day" would be one of the most endearing movies of its era. While audiences still treasure the film almost 30 years after its premiere, Murray was not fond of filming it. Everything from a disintegrating marriage off-screen to grueling physical comedy on-screen made the "Groundhog Day" shoot miserable for him. Murray also clashed creatively with director and frequent collaborator Ramis, which fragmented their friendship. They thankfully reconciled before Ramis died in 2014.

While it's sad that Murray suffered so much while making "Groundhog Day," it's hard to imagine anyone else as the protagonist, Phil. Despite that, it would've been interesting to see Keaton's interpretation of the iconic cynic turned hero caught in a time loop.