New: ‘Beetlejuice’ Star Says She Was Forced Out of Tim Burton Sequel

in Movies

An image of beetlejuice, a character with messy hair and eerie white face makeup, standing in a dark, twig-filled background. his expression is wild and mischievous.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

After nearly forty years, the Ghost with the Most is returning to the big screen with Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, and Tim Burton, Michael Keaton, and Winona Ryder are all on board. Conspicuously absent, however, is Geena Davis, who says that she was essentially forced out of the long-awaited sequel for a surprising reason.

Geena Davis with curly hair and red lipstick smiles warmly. she wears a floral outfit, and the background is slightly blurred, indicating an indoor setting.
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Beetlejuice (1988) was a surprise hit for director Tim Burton on its first release but paved the way for his eventual rise as one of the most commercially successful filmmakers of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Its bizarre fusion of horror cinema tropes, off-beat humor, stop-motion special effects, and, most of all, the titanically energetic performance of Michael Keaton as a nefarious “bio-exorcist” turned the movie into a franchise that has since included an animated children’s series, numerous video games, a highly successful Broadway musical, and a whole bunch of film nerd quotes.

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But while Michael Keaton may have portrayed the titular character Beetlejuice (technically, Betelgeuse), the actual protagonists of the film are Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin), a happily married couple who end up drowning because of a bad dog and trapped in their home for oddly bureaucratic afterlife reasons.

The actual plot of the original Beetlejuice centers on Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin attempting to drive the house’s new owners (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara) out of their home while bonding with their daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) and learning ghost stuff.

Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton, and Geena Davis in the model graveyard of Beetlejuice
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

While much of the original cast is returning for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice (as well as a few other ringers), it has also been notable for the absence of both Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. Now, Davis has revealed the odd reason why she believes she has been forced out of Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, and it has nothing to do with Tim Burton.

Geena Davis recently received the Viola Davis Trailblazer Award at the CinemaCon 2024 Big Screen Achievement Awards in honor of her work with the Geena Davis Institute and decades of working for the underrepresented in Hollywood. CinemaCon managing director Mitch Neuhauser stated, “Geena Davis exemplifies the true essence of a trailblazer in Hollywood for not only her remarkable film career but also in her tireless advocacy championing underrepresented voices in film and other forms of media.”

Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin as The Maitlands in Beetlejuice
Credit: Warner Bros.

At the awards ceremony, Davis was asked about Beetlejuice Beetlejuice and explained that she felt her absence was due to age. The actress told Entertainment Tonight, “I’m not in the remake. “Oh, you were expecting that I would be? Yeah, no, you know what? Because my theory is that ghosts don’t age… Not that I have.”

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That seems to be good logic, at least for the internal narrative of Beetlejuice Beetlejuice. She continued, “Our characters were stuck the way they looked when they died forever, so it’s been a while, it’s been a minute.”

Credit: Warner Bros.

Unless Tim Burton and Warner Bros. wanted to invest in de-aging technology a la The Irishman (2019), it makes sense that Geena Davis could not appear to be supernaturally unchanged in the years since the first movie. She also would not have the advantage that Michael Keaton does, in that she will not be covered in white grease paint or prosthetics or already intentionally appear to be a partially-rotted zombie. It seems that time itself has forced Davis out of the movie, despite what we might all want.

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice is directed by Tim Burton from a script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. It will co-star Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Jenna Ortega, Willem Dafoe, Justin Theroux, and Monica Bellucci. It hits theaters on September 6.

Do you think Beetlejuice Beetlejuice should have brought back Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin in some form? Give Inside the Magic your ghostly opinions in the comments below!

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