Michael Keaton thinks his younger self was ”crazy” to move to Hollywood with less than $300 in his pocket. The Birdman star – who worked as a cameraman at Pittsburgh television station WQED before landing minor roles and deciding to relocate to California – admits it was a daunting prospect but he is now proud of himself for finding the courage to make the move with hardly any money and nowhere to live.
When asked how he found the courage to move to Hollywood, he said: ”No f**king idea. When I look back at it now … first of all, I pat myself on the back for doing it. But the other part of me is like, ‘What was he thinking? He’s so crazy.’ I can’t remember the exact amount of money I had, but I know it was under $300 that I’d saved. Almost all of it was gone once I bought an airline ticket.”
The 63-year-old actor had originally planned to move to New York before he was advised to try his luck on the west coast as there were more acting opportunities. He explained: ”One guy who was already making a living as a comedy writer – I was moving to New York – and he said to me, ‘You should come and try LA out. It’s wide open.”’
Michael – who was recently nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe for his role in ‘Birdman’ – had a rocky start to his career and admitted to trying out ”a zillion jobs” after dropping out of college before making a name for himself in movies. He told Joe Yogerst at Prestige Hong Kong magazine: ”I dropped out to make money, then went back and then dropped out to make money again because I couldn’t afford my tuition. I dropped out to get a job. I was working for a survey crew. Work on the roads with road crews. I had a zillion jobs. I shoveled asphalt off the back of a truck, drove a cab. I did a ton of stuff. My brother gave me a little part-time job selling building materials on construction sites, so I did that.”