A few decades after Adam West’s Batman series went off the air, Warner Bros. recruited Tim Burton to direct an all-new Batman movie. Burton was still a relatively new director in the late ‘80s with his only two films being Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. The film was released on June 23, 1989 and pitted Michael Keaton’s Batman against Jack Nicholson’s Joker.
Batman was the first in a series of four films that would span from 1989 to 1997, but many people credit Burton’s first Batman as the best of the anthology. With Batman celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year, it’s time to look back on the Academy Award-winning superhero film. Here is 30 Years Of Batman: 10 Things You Never Knew About Tim Burton’s Movie.
10 Robin Williams Almost Played The Joker
There have been many people that have played the Joker over the years, but among the best was Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s 1989 film. Nicholson has won three Oscars in his acting career, but the Joker is still one of his most memorable roles. That being said, the role could have been given to Robin Williams instead.
After Warner Bros. offered the role to Nicholson, he apparently hesitated which made them reach out to Williams. Williams accepted the role, but after Nicholson told Warner Bros. he would accept the position, Williams was left in the dust. It’s widely believed that they only offered the role to Williams to push Nicholson to say yes.
9 Adam West Wanted To Wear The Batsuit Again
No matter how many people play the Caped Crusader, Adam West will always be a favorite for many people. West played the character in what is arguably the most popular Batman TV series from 1966 to 1968. While he voiced the character several more times after that, he wasn’t asked to reprise the role in 1989.
Despite him being in his 60s when Batman was released, West actually wanted to reprise the role once more. West was a bit disappointed that he wasn’t even called about the role, but Burton no doubt wanted to make something that was drastically different from West’s version of the character.
8 People Hated The Idea Michael Keaton As Batman
Whenever a new actor is cast as Batman, there always seems to be some sort of fan outcry. People lost their minds when Ben Affleck was cast and have done so once again now that Robert Pattinson has been cast as Bruce Wayne, but it also happened in the late ‘80s.
Despite Batman now being one of his most beloved roles, people originally hated Michael Keaton as Batman. The casting was fresh off the heels of the release of Beetlejuice, so many people saw him more as the Joker. The backlash was so severe that Warner Bros. received over 50,000 letters complaining about the casting decision.
7 Robin Was Almost Introduced
While the character Robin was introduced in Batman Forever in 1995, he was almost introduced two movies earlier. Robin was originally going to be introduced in Tim Burton’s Batman, but the scene was scrapped since it wasn’t crucial to the story. The scene was brought to life by a storyboard sequence showing Batman chasing the Joker throughout Gotham, before the Joker murders Robin’s family.
Before the scene was dropped, Kiefer Sutherland was offered the role, but he turned it down. Ultimately, ideas like this and a storyline involving the Penguin were dropped and saved for future films.
6 Sean Young Was Originally Cast As Vicki Vale
The reporter Vicki Vale was adapted for Batman as a love interest to Bruce Wayne. While the character was played by Kim Basinger, the role originally went to Sean Young. Young is most known for her roles in Sci-Fi action flicks like Blade Runner and Dune and she almost appeared alongside Michael Keaton in Batman.
Young was cast as Vicki Vale, but Warner Bros. had to find a replacement after she was injured in a horse-riding accident. Tim Burton wanted to replace her with Michelle Pfeiffer, but Keaton vetoed the casting choice since Pfeiffer was an ex and he was at that point trying to get together with his ex-wife.
5 A Sketch From Bob Kane Made It Into The Film
Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 and has been a popular character for DC ever since. The character was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger who were the illustrator and writer respectively. While other writers and illustrators had taken over Batman by the time Tim Burton’s film was released, a sketch of Kane’s still made it into the final cut of the film.
Actor Denis Lill actually plays Bob Kane in the film, who is a cartoonist for the Gotham Globe. He gives Alexander Knox a humorous drawing of a man-bat (with a bat’s head/wings with a human body), which is signed by the real Bob Kane himself.
4 Nike Designed Batman’s Boots
With all of the iterations of Batman since his creation in 1939, there have been a lot of changes to his costume. The costume in Tim Burton’s film was a lot more serious and tactical than Adam West’s suit, but it may surprise some that Batman’s boots were designed by Nike.
His boots were a modified pair of Nike Air Trainers, which were supposedly very comfortable for Keaton but didn’t really match the look of the film. Unsurprisingly, Burton was supposedly very irritated about the shoe choice, but he didn’t have a lot of push in the matter since Warner Bros. had already made a deal with Nike.
3 Jack Nicholson Would Fall Asleep In His Makeup Chair
While Michael Keaton had to wear his Batsuit most of the days of shooting, Jack Nicholson had to endure makeup application every time they needed to film a Joker scene.
In an interview with Grantland, Keaton explained that Nicholson told producers he wouldn’t be showing up to set until 9 AM each morning, even though everybody else got there hours earlier, because he wasn’t a morning person. Keaton further explained that when Nicholson came on set, he would briefly talk about sports and then pass out for a few hours while they did his Joker makeup.
2 Warner Bros. Were Forced To Release A Trailer
Initially, when Tim Burton’s Batman started production they were trying to keep details of the film a secret. Unfortunately, once fans found out Michael Keaton had been cast as Batman, there was a largely negative outlook on the upcoming superhero flick.
In order to curve these unwarranted perceptions of the film, Warner Bros. rushed to put a teaser trailer together. The trailer wasn’t very well put together, but people were thrilled to finally see what Keaton was going to look like as Batman and what Nicholson would look like as the Joker. It’s also rumored that people would even buy tickets for a movie just to see the new Batman trailer and then skip the actual feature.
1 Michael Keaton Was Claustrophobic In The Batsuit
While people generally like the look of Keaton’s batsuit, Keaton was not a fan of wearing the costume. Actors often complain about their costumes being uncomfortable, but Keaton’s problem was a bit more serious since he felt claustrophobic inside the suit. He also revealed that it was incredibly hard to move in the suit and couldn’t turn his head without destroying the cowl.
Keaton admitted, “I was very claustrophobic. The first time I was locked in, I thought, ‘This is never going to happen’, I’m never going to do it’”. Thankfully, Keaton pushed through his discomfort for two movies and harnessed his fear to fuel his acting as the Dark Knight.