Tim Burton Says Michael Keaton 'Went Right Back' to Beetlejuice Role 'Like He Was Possessed By a Demon'

The actor said it was "surreal" to revisit the character over 30 years later

<p>Parisa Taghizadeh/Warner Bros.</p> Michael Keaton in "Beetlejuice Beetlejuice"

Parisa Taghizadeh/Warner Bros.

Michael Keaton in "Beetlejuice Beetlejuice"

Michael Keaton slipped back into his Beetlejuice role as if no time had passed, says director Tim Burton.

The Oscar winner reprises his role as the ghost with the most in the sequel titled Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, which comes 36 years after the 1988 original, also directed by Burton.

“It was like he was possessed by a demon," the director, 65, told Empire magazine of Keaton's performance, "because he just went right back into it."

Keaton, 72, told Empire it was "surreal" to revisit the character.

He added of his approach this time around, "There’s been so much merchandising of [Beetlejuice], I had to drop back to where it started. I had to go, ‘What was my unusual imagination even thinking about when I was developing it in the first place?’ As opposed to seeing a coffee mug or a golf-club cover [adorned with the character]."

Related: Catherine O'Hara Confirms 'Day-O' Song Is in Beetlejuice Sequel: Tim Burton 'Wanted the Old Feeling Back'

<p>Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures</p> Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton in "Beetlejuice Beetlejuice"

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton in "Beetlejuice Beetlejuice"

Along with Keaton, costars Winona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara also reprise their roles from the original. Wednesday star Jenna Ortega plays Ryder's character Lydia Deetz's daughter Astrid, who summons back the mischevious demon Beetlejuice when her family visits the house from the original film.

Ortega, 21, said of seeing Keaton in character on set, "It was like an animal with a gun had just walked into the room. To watch him physically change and appear and Michael Keaton to be gone, and for me to be dealing with this Beetlejuice guy … it blew my mind."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

New cast members in the sequel include Justin TherouxMonica Bellucci, Arthur Conti and Willem Dafoe.

As Keaton told PEOPLE in February, working on this sequel was “the most fun I've had on set in a long time.”

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice is in theaters Sept. 6.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.