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Micheal Keaton settles for less pay

NEW YORK(Reuters):Find a movie director with a great script and ''Batman'' star Michael Keaton is willing to work for 100 dollar a day.That is what Keaton, Robert Downey Jr and Bebe Neuwirth were paid for the movie ''Game 6,'' which opened on Friday in two Manhattan theaters and moves to the West Coast in coming weeks.

Based on a screenplay by novelist Don DeLillo and directed by Michael Hoffman, it cost less than 1 million dollar to film, even though it was shot in pricey Manhattan and features a special effects scene showing an explosion of asbestos-laden steam.'It's so hard to get anything as well written or as challenging, or a cast or director this good, so I just had to do it,'' Keaton told Reuters in an interview. ''It kind of haunted me.''

The minibudget film focuses on New York playwright Nicky Rogan (Keaton) and his anguished decision whether to attend the premiere of his Broadway show or watch fateful Game 6 of the 1986 World Series between the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.The baseball game in question saw Boston, one out away from winning its first World Series since 1918, squander a two-run lead with two outs in the 10th inning, losing as a routine grounder went through the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner.

Rogan, a perennially tortured Sox fan, must also contend with the potential threat of a New York theater critic who has already destroyed the career and life of his best friend Elliot Litvak (Griffin Dunne) and his own complicated love life.Toemented Playwright Keaton, the 54-year-old star of two Batman movies who reportedly turned down tens of millions of dollars to star in the third installment, said he ''went into the hole'' financially to do ''Game 6'' but reaped psychic fortunes playing the tormented playwright.DeLillo's script had been kicking around for almost a decade before it wound up in the hands of director Hoffman and ultra-frugal Serenade Films, which offered all cast members the same lowly pay.

''Everyone in the cast had done a ton of theater,'' Hoffman, one of the founders of Serenade, said about his actors' acceptance of the downsized scale and lack of creature comforts of ''Game 6''.Even so, the cast may well receive extra money if the movie is sufficiently profitable, said Hoffman. He added that investors have expressed interest in backing more than a dozen other Serenade movies.With no fat whatsoever in the ''Game 6'' budget, Keaton said the cast had to fend for themselves.

''I know the public restrooms in New York now because I'd use them to make sure my hair was combed and my wardrobe was on; they were my trailers,'' the razor-thin, fast-talking actor recalled.Likewise, to catch occasional naps, Keaton said he would pitch a mat on whatever lawn or sidewalk was handy.

Neuwirth-who starred in the NBC sitcoms Cheers and Frazier as well as Broadway productions such as Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity and Chicago -- said she was drawn to ''Game 6'' by the writing and her own fascination with baseball.'There is a romance and elegance to the game. And there are things in parts of the movie about the theater that were actually on the money,'' she said.

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