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You were a movie star, remember!?.
~ Birdman to Riggan Thomsen.
There you go, you motherf**ker!.
~ Birdman to Riggan Thomsen when flying.
How did we end up here?, this place is horrible, smells like balls.
~ Birdman

Birdman is the titular main antagonist of the 2014 Academy Award winning black comedy film of the same name (also known as The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

He was portrayed by Benjamin Kanes.


Birdman is a fictional character in a film saga who was played by Riggan Thomson in 1992, but after that Thomson refused to shoot a fourth Birdman film his career was declining, and was close to being forgotten. Because unknown to everyone, Birdman was evil and tries controlling Thomson's mind.

22 years later in 2014, an aged Thomson undertook a project to relaunch his career with a theatrical adaptation in Broadway of the book "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love".

But during play's production; the memory of his past, along with his career and family problems, began to harass him to the point where he started seeing and hearing his winged alter-ego haunting him. Telling him that, instead of doing serious acting, he should return to make mainstream cinema. The persecution led Thompson to almost throw himself off a ledge, and later, during the debut of the play, shoot himself in the face as part of the final scene.

After surviving to the shoot, Thompson found out in the hospital that the play was a great success and that his family was worried about him, thereby getting rid of the Birdman vision and its stalking.


It is speculated that in movies starring by Riggan Thomsen, his character Birdman must have had the archetypal personality of a classic superhero. However, the Birdman inside the mind of Thompson completely lacks of any good own quality that could get in its films. It is foul-mouthed, caddish, hectoring and braggart. It talks nonstop about the past glories of Riggan and how his life is a failure, and constantly seeks to make him believe the serious drama is a waste of time while commercial movies are those that lead to fame. It could be said that Birdman is an accumulation of all Riggan's defects and existential doubts.



  • Iñárritu created Birdman as a parody to critique the superhero genre films, because in his opinion they are "poisoning" the movie industry, because he considers that they "do not mean anything".
  • Iñárritu was inspired in part in the career of Michael Keaton, who in his youth ages played Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), by the story of Riggan Thompson.
  • it is possible that Inarritu was inspired in part in the character Birdman of Hanna-Barbera when creating his Birdman.
  • Despite being one of the central actors in the film, Benjamin Kanes not appears in the end credits of the movie.
  • He shares the stage name of rapper Bryan Christopher Williams, who is better known as Birdman and formerly known as "Baby".
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