MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Did famed Alien designer H.R. Giger really design a Batmobile for Batman Forever?
Alien was a brilliant fusion of science fiction and horror, as screenwriter Dan O’Bannon and director Ridley Scott had the crew of a spacecraft slowly killed by an alien creature that had essentially stowed away in the body of one of the crew members during a mission to a nearby planet. The film’s setting of a cramped commercial space vessel was perfectly suited for such a tense thriller. The alien creature also stood out for its unique and striking design.
The creature was designed by Swiss artist Hans Rudolf “H.R.” Giger, whom O’Bannon had worked with on a planned adaptation of Dune that never happened. The writer later recalled, “I had never seen anything that was quite as horrible and at the same time as beautiful as his work.” So when O’Bannon’s Alien screenplay was optioned, he immediately thought of Giger to design the creature. Scott ultimately chose a design based on a drawing Giger had createdcalled “Necronom IV.” Studio executives were worried that Giger’s design might be too disturbing for viewers, but Scott was adamant about using it, and the resulting film obviously proved the director correct.
Giger (and the rest of the visual effects team for the film, namely Carlo Rambaldi, Brian Johnson, Nick Allder and Dennis Ayling) won the Academy Award for Visual Effects; he recently was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
Reader Steve wrote to ask whether we almost saw Giger’s work appear in Batman Forever, of all places: “Is it true that artist H.R. Giger did production design art for the film Batman Forever, with a radically different design for the Batmobile than the seen in the film (or elsewhere). This rumor seems to get passed around a lot as fact. I would love to see the design sketch’s if they exist. Thank you. Keep up the great work.”
Well, is it true? Did we almost get a surrealist version of the Batmobile? Read on to find out!
For director Joel Schumacher’s 1995 film Batman Forever, the third in the Warner Bros. franchise, Giger was indeed asked to create a new take on the Batmobile. His design was described on Batmobile Art as:
His unique “X” shaped design was to include articulated front legs/mandibles, retractable fins, and gatling gun emplacements on each of the four pods on the sides of the vehicle. The design also combined side and forward intake ports with organinic spines and a central pod connecting the four legs.
Ultimately the filmmakers found the X-design a bit too “out there,” and they eventually chose a more conventional design by designer Barbara Ling.
But there you go, Steve, the legend is …
Thanks to Steve for the question and to Batmobile Art for the information!
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