The Batman franchise has seen many ups and downs over the years. The 1989 Batman directed by Tim Burton was a hit, whereas the 1997 film Batman And Robin is considered by some as one of the worse films of all time. Director Christopher Nolan breathed new life into the franchise with his 2005 entry Batman Begins. Now we’re seeing Batman as part of a connected DC Comics Extended Universe with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The different movies over the decades have featured many supporting actors that you may have forgotten about!
Were you aware of the famous names of the people that provided voices for the Batman animated movies as well as the Lego Batman Movie? Some other actors you may have plain forgotten about. One of the actors made such a brief appearance we’re not sure if they even remember that they were in the movie! To prevent these actors from disappearing from your memory faster than Batman disappearing from a rooftop conversation with Commissioner Gordon, we hope this list of 15 Actors You Forgot Appeared in Batman Movies will help you remember!
15. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS (BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD)
Judd Winick, the writer for the animated movie Batman: Under the Red Hood, was also the writer of the the Under The Hood comic series that began with Batman #635. The Red Hood was none other than Jason Todd, the second Robin who was initially thought killed by the Joker. Batman is joined by Nightwing, the original Robin, who first helps him battle the android Amazo, then helps to stop the The Red Hood.
Nightwing was voiced by Neil Patrick Harris. Nightwing has the sarcasm and the amazement at a situation that Robin has, but he’s more mature and confident due to his age and experience. Neil Patrick Harris captures the energy, the curiosity and the intensity of Dick Grayson. Once you realize the character is being voiced by the actor from How I Met Your Mother and A Series of Unfortunate Events, it only adds to your enjoyment of the movie.
14. CONAN O’BRIEN (LEGO BATMAN MOVIE)
It’s been great to see big-budget adaptations of Batman on the big screen. Seeing a full scale Batcave, a dark and brooding Gotham City, or even Batman driving around in the Batmobile are all sites to behold. The Lego Batman Movie, because it’s done via computer-animated lego pieces, had no limit to the scope or dimension of what could be done on screen. You can have actors without worrying about their schedules or set pieces and not worry too much about the build or expense.
In the Lego Batman Movie, we saw one of the biggest collection of villains to date share the same movie. One of them was The Riddler, voiced by none other than Conan O’Brien. Although he’s known more for his late night talk show hosting abilities, Conan was able to expertly get The Riddler’s humor and tone down. Could you picture Conan O’Brien in a live action film playing The Riddler?
13. JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN (BATMAN V SUPERMAN)
It’s a tale we’ve seen many times in many different versions of Batman movies, but it’s still an important reminder of what drove Bruce Wayne to fight crime. The death of Thomas and Martha Wayne at the hands of Joe Chill was the most important event in young Bruce’s life because it turns him into The Dark Knight. Batman can often be cruel and unforgiving… does he get that from his father?
In Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne’s father is played by Jeffery Dean Morgan, who stars as Negan in The Walking Dead. Negan, along with his barb-wired covered bat named Lucille, is as cruel as he is deadly, traits that Batman possesses in abundance (well, minus the deadly part, usually). Considering that Negan walks around with a bat, does that technically also make him a bat-man?
12. JESSE VENTURA (BATMAN AND ROBIN)
In Batman and Robin, Victor Fries, the villain known as Mr. Freeze, is incarcerated in Arkham Asylum. Although he is detained in a special climate-controlled cell, Mr. Freeze is also under watch by two guards. These guards are eventually incapacitated and possibly killed by kisses from Poison Ivy, who frees Freeze with the help of her henchman Bane.
If one of the guards looked familiar, it could be for a number of reasons. The guard was played by Jesse Ventura, who has acted alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in a number of films, including Predator and The Running Man. He also wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s as Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Oh, and from 1999-2003 he was the Governor of Minnesota. No big deal.
11. PEE WEE HERMAN (BATMAN RETURNS)
In Batman Returns, instead of starting with The Dark Knight’s origins, we see the beginnings of Oswald Cobblepot, who was abandoned at birth due to his hideous deformations. His parents callously discard his stroller (with baby still inside) into a lake in a park in Gotham. The baby’s stroller floats into the sewer where he’s rescued and raised in a bizarre Tim Burton fashion by, you guessed it, penguins.
At the time, having Pee Wee Herman (also known as Paul Reubens) make an appearance as Tucker Cobblepot was quite a risk. Pee Wee Herman had quite the fall from grace at that time and slowly found himself in the public eye with the 1992 film Batman Returns and Mystery Men in 1999. It was a brief, non-speaking cameo but still a memorable one for those fans happy to see Pee Wee return to the big screen, even if it was for a short time.
10. JOHN GLOVER (BATMAN AND ROBIN)
Jason Woodrue and Pamela Isley were two scientists working at a laboratory in Brazil. Dr. Isley witnessed Dr. Woodrue experimenting on a human subject with a drug called Venom, granting the subject almost superhuman strength. When she confronts Dr. Woodrue, he tries to kill her but accidentally transforms her into the eventual Batman villain named Poison Ivy. Ivy kisses Woodrue, but the chemicals he exposed her to makes her kiss poisonous, resulting in his death.
Woodrue was played by John Glover, who has not been a stranger to the DC Comics franchise. He played Lex Luthor’s dad, Lionel, on the tv series Smallville. He was also the voice of the Riddler on the animated Superman and Batman series. We were excited to hear that he was playing Jason Woodrue, who in the comics eventually became the villain Floronic Man, but alas that did not happen in the movie.
9. DREW BARRYMORE (BATMAN FOREVER)
In the film Batman Forever, District Attorney Harvey Dent is transformed into the villainous Two-Face after a criminal throws acid on half of his face during a court trial. This becomes a theme for Two-Face’s motif: he wears a suit in which the left half is a different color from his right, he flips a coin in which one side is completely scratched, and his lair is divided right down the middle in terms of color and decorations, with an assistant on either side with opposite personalities.
The “bad” assistant was played by Debi Mazar. If you blinked you may have missed Two-Face’s “good” assistant, played by Drew Barrymore, although in the script her character was originally known as Lace. Drew is famous for appearing in such films as E.T., Charlie’s Angels, Scream, and The Santa Clarita Diet.
8. ELLE MACPHERSON (BATMAN AND ROBIN)
In Batman and Robin, Wayne Manor has young Dick Grayson as an occupant, with Alfred’s niece, Barbara Wilson,also moving in. As such, Bruce Wayne went from grieving for his parents to worrying about the parental role that he was symbolically taking on. To add to the situation, his girlfriend, Julie Madison, proposes to him.
The role of Julie Madison was played by model and actress Elle Macpherson. Did you forget that she was in the film? So did the film, because after her character proposes to Bruce Wayne, the plot point is dropped and we never really hear from her or see her again. Besides acting and modeling, Elle was a producer for Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model and an actor on the 2009 series The Beautiful Life.
7. MARIAH CAREY (LEGO BATMAN MOVIE)
In The Lego Batman Movie, we see Batman fight and defeat his arch-nemesis The Joker. Batman goes one step further and uses Superman’s Phantom Zone Projector to banish the Joker into the Phantom Zone. However this was a trick by the Joker to gain access to the Phantom Zone and mobilize all of the villains that have been incarcerated there.
It’s quite typical for average citizens of Gotham City to yell for help, and the Mayor of Gotham is no different. If Mayor McCaskill sounded somewhat familiar, it’s because she was voiced by the woman named the best-selling female artist of the millennium in 2000. We’re talking about Mariah Carey of course, and the diva lent her voice to the Mayor, even though it was erroneously reported that she was going to play Commissioner Gordon. Now that would have been interesting!
6. JON FAVREAU (BATMAN FOREVER)
In Batman Forever, we saw a new actor playing Batman/Bruce Wayne. Instead of Michael Keaton, we saw Val Kilmer taking over as the Dark Knight. Similar to Batman Returns, in this third sequel we see The Caped Crusader taking on multiple villains in the film, and in order to combat Two-Face and The Riddler, he’s going to need the best allies he can get. And that ally is Happy Hogan from Iron Man!
Believe it or not, Jon Favreau had the briefest of cameos in the Batman sequel. You can see him as one of Bruce Wayne’s entourage walking around alongside the young billionaire. Clearly he carried himself with importance, because Stark Industries acquired him years later! Favreau later went on to appear in and direct the 2008 film Iron Man, the film that started the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
5. AIDAN GILLEN (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES)
In the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises, a CIA operative is transporting a physicist from Uzbekistan but is outmaneuvered by League of Shadows operative Bane. In a bold move Bane is able to have a second plane, while in mid-air, abscond with Bane and Dr. Pavel before crashing the CIA’s plane into the mountains.
The CIA operative was played by Aidan Gillen, who is most famous for his role on Game Of Thrones, where he played Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. Littlefinger was a master manipulator, who considered chaos a ladder that he tried to climb, until the Stark Daughters finally got their vengeance against him. He was able to outsmart the CIA operative, but we wonder if Bane would be able to outsmart Petyr Baelish?
4. MICHAEL JAI WHITE (THE DARK KNIGHT)
When The Joker makes his first chilling appearance, he scares every criminal sitting at the table in the kitchen they were meeting in… everyone except a man named Gambol. He sends one of his henchmen to get rid of the the Joker but much to everyone’s surprise the thug is dispatched with ease. Gambol offers a bounty on the his green-haired head, so that he can personally teach the Joker some manners. In the end, The Joker gets the last laugh against Gambol.
It’s a good thing The Joker didn’t go up against Gambol in a fair fight, because Gambol was played by Michael Jai White, who has black belts in over five different types of martial arts. Besides being inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, he is also known for his portrayal of the lead character in the 2009 film Black Dynamite and the 1995 HBO movie Tyson, in which he depicted the troubled boxer.
3. JACK GLEESON (BATMAN BEGINS)
In Batman Begins, we see the very beginnings of Bruce Wayne becoming a crime fighter by night. In one of his first outings, he is in pursuit of drugs being brought into Gotham and encounters Jonathan Crane, also know as the Scarecrow. Before he enters the building, he has a brief interaction with a young blond kid, who is not scared to see him, but happy that the Caped Crusader really exists. Sure the kid looks like a cute, innocent kid, but he would later grow up to be Joffrey Baratheon!
Jack Gleeson played the villain we all loved to hate on Game of Thrones. This actually wasn’t the first time he shared a screen with Batman; Jack Gleeson had an uncredited appearance in Reign of Fire, which also starred Christian Bale! If only Batman knew what kind of king that kid would grow up to be…
2. RUTGER HAUER (BATMAN BEGINS)
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne goes missing for years. While he is out of the public eye, he is honing his martial arts skills as well as studying how the criminal mind works while with the League of Shadows, led by Ra’s Al Ghul. When he returns to Gotham, he meets William Earle, the current CEO of Wayne Enterprises.
William Earle is played by Rutger Hauer, who might be known best as Roy Batty, the Replicant that is being hunted by Harrison Ford in the 1982 film Blade Runner. He also was in Ladyhawke, The Blood of Heroes, and in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Was it his role as the Replicant that won Christopher Nolan over? Perhaps it was because his character’s last name was Batty?
1. JACK PALANCE (BATMAN 1989)
In the Tim Burton-directed Batman, Jack Nicholson’s character Jack Napier is sent to his death by Carl Grissom, Gotham’s crime boss who is getting back at Jack for having an affair with his girlfriend. Jack survives the ambush, but not before getting dropped into a vat of chemicals by Batman, which is his catalyst for becoming The Joker.
The casting of Oscar winner Jack Palance as Carl Grissom was great. His deep, gravely voice served him well in the 120+ films he acted in over his career, including the western Shane and the television series Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Two years after acting in Batman, Jack Palance won an Oscar for playing Curly in City Slickers. Did even Batman know his real name was Volodymyr Palahnyuk?
Which actor plays your favorite Batman? Post your comments below!
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