One question the DCEU has grown accustomed to hearing is “How many Batman movies do we really need?” Despite the persistent nagging, DC has been quick to crank out one Dark Knight film after another from the 1943 film to the seemingly doomed “Batfleck” trilogy. The beloved Batman franchise has witnessed both tremendous rises in success and humiliating losses over the years. Schumacher’s Batman and Robin is still regarded as the worst and most damaging Batman movie ever made, with Batman vs Superman following close behind. Meanwhile, Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy is heralded as the best. Whatever the opinion, the caped crusader remains a strong presence in the DCEU.
Over the years, die-hard Dark Knight fans have done some detective work and uncovered impressive and embarrassing information about the various Batman movies. Among the findings are stories of behind-the-scenes drama, casting snubs and controversy, dramatic deleted scenes as well as hilarious commentary regarding costume designs. Even more intriguing are the discoveries of Batman films that were never produced and storyline pitches from past actors that would drastically alter everything we’ve come to know about the Gotham vigilante.
15. JIM CARREY VS TOMMY LEE JONES IN BATMAN FOREVER
Funny man Jim Carrey is well-known for his comedic antics. Recently, however, the actor revealed his Batman Forever co-star Tommy Lee Jones wasn’t a fan of his humor. In the 1995 film, Carrey portrayed The Riddler with Jones as Two-Face. As the deranged duo, the two played well off of each other, with The Riddler acting as a controller of Two-Face’s extreme order-cum-chaos. But once the camera stopped rolling, their rivalry was evident.
“I was the star and that was the problem,” admitted Carrey, who believes Jones’ lack of successful films at the time left the actor feeling competitive for the spotlight. After encountering Jones at a restaurant, Carrey discovered how his co-star truly felt about working with him. He says, “I went up to say hi and the blood drained from his face… He got up… and said ‘I hate you. I really don’t like you. I cannot sanction your buffoonery.'”
14. BILLY DEE WILLIAMS AS TWO-FACE
Harvey Dent made his live-action debut in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, played by Star Wars alum Billy Dee Williams. The District Attorney vowed to clean up the crime-ridden streets of Gotham but Batman experts know Dent eventually joins the villainous underworld as the twisted Two-Face. However, fans and Williams were cheated out of their chance at seeing the transformation.
“I had hoped that I would have done Two-Face,” Williams expressed to Comicbook.com, “But it changed hands before then, and I think Schumacher got involved, so they took a different direction with that.” That direction was in the form of Tommy Lee Jones in 1995. Despite the snub, Williams got to reprise the role in animated form in The Lego Batman Movie.
13. STAND-ALONE CATWOMAN MOVIE
Before the disastrous Halle Berry version, Catwoman almost got her own movie in the ’90s. After her jaw-dropping performance as the feline femme fatale, Michelle Pfeiffer admits if she’d been asked to reprise the role, she would have “in a heartbeat.” In a profile for the New York Times, Pfeiffer says, “I felt like I was just getting comfortable and getting used to the claws and the mask.” She stunned Burton with her whip skills, successfully performing the “Mannequin Decapitation” scene in one take.
Burton fully intended to produce a spin-off which is why the character was absent from Schumacher’s film but plans quickly fell apart. It wasn’t until 2004 that the character — albeit a water-downed, loosely DC based version — returned to the big screen. Anne Hathaway also got the chance to don the skin-tight catsuit in The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
12. MARLON WAYANS, BOY WONDER!
Before becoming a member of the GI Joes, the Scary Movie actor was asked to play Robin in Batman Returns alongside Michael Keaton. After Tim Burton’s departure which prompted a complete overhaul of the franchise, the role slipped through Wayans’ fingers. Despite never having to squeeze into those embarrassing green shorts and metallic cape, Wayans is still being paid residuals.
Burton meant to cast Wayans in the 1992 film but felt the movie already had too many characters and decided to put him on hold until the third instalment. Wayans admits, “I don’t think I was ready to do Robin back then. I wasn’t ready for that kind of fame.” The Boy Wonder role was then offered to Chris O’Donnell, who worked alongside Val Kilmer in Batman Forever and George Clooney in Batman and Robin.
11. BILL MURRAY AS THE DARK KNIGHT
Before Michael Keaton, Ghostbusters‘ Bill Murray was the favorite when it came to playing the Dark Knight. Ivan Reitman was to direct the film based on Steve Englehart’s Batman: Strange Apparitions, which dealt with the Joker trying to expose Batman’s identity. Murray would have had the pleasure of facing off against David Bowie as the clown prince of crime.
Despite the intended dark and gritty nature of the film, further casting choices left many scratching their heads. David Niven was rumored to be in the running to play Alfred Pennyworth with Eddie Murphy in talks to play Robin. Nine screenwriters were brought on for the project before Warner Bros decided to scrap the doomed film. Directing reigns were then handed to Tim Burton who tossed Murray aside in favor of Keaton.
10. ADAM WEST AS THOMAS WAYNE
After his campy take on the normally “dark and brooding” character, Adam West was furious that he wasn’t asked to reprise the role in 1989. The actor brought Batman to the big screen in 1966; the film earning positive reviews. When it came to the 1989 film, Michael Keaton was given the role after getting a nod from Batman creator Bob Kane.
Despite the snub, West was asked to cameo as Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne, in the infamous murder sequence but decided against it. In 2013, the actor expressed wanting to play the character in the, at the time, unannounced follow-up to Man of Steel (Batman vs Superman). It wasn’t until Batman: Brave and the Bold that West got to voice the elder Wayne, reuniting with his co-star Julie Newmar as Martha Wayne.
9. BATMAN TRIUMPHANT / UNCHAINED
Fully believing Batman and Robin would be a box-office success, Schumacher was quick to jumpstart work on a third movie. The plot would have involved the Scarecrow, played by Nicolas Cage, trapping Batman in Arkham Asylum in an attempt to drive him insane. Nicholson’s Joker, DeVito’s Penguin and other past villains would make cameo appearances as hallucinations brought on by Scarecrow’s fear toxin.
Harley Quinn would have also made her big-screen debut as Joker’s daughter, seeking revenge. Rumors suggest Madonna and Courtney Love were approached for the role. Schumacher admitted the vivacious vixen would have been “the standout character of the film,” receiving a redemption arc toward the end of the movie. Despite his hopes, Schumacher’s sequel to Batman Forever was considered the worst of the Batman franchise and the director made a swift departure.
8. DELETED SCENES FROM BATMAN FOREVER
Schumacher’s attempt to make the Dark Knight more “family-friendly” resulted in Batman Forever. Despite financial success, the film received mixed reviews. Had producers stuck to the original cut, perhaps things would have been different. Over 2 hours long, the film included 38 minutes of extra footage. Most wouldn’t have added much to the film; more fight scenes, extended dialogue, etc. But two scenes in particular would have drastically altered the tone of the movie.
Originally, a subplot regarding “The Red Book” or Thomas Wayne’s diary, involved Bruce discovering an entry that would haunt him the rest of his life: Bruce insists on seeing a movie tonight... Riddled with guilt for causing his parents’ deaths, Bruce’s reason for becoming Batman wouldn’t have stemmed from a need for justice, but for atonement. Another cut scene is after being shot by Two-Face, Bruce suffers temporary amnesia, forgetting his vigilante persona.
7. DELETED SCENES FROM BATMAN AND ROBIN
Batman Forever wasn’t the only Batman film that had alternate scenes cut. The sequel, Batman and Robin, featured two scenes that would have changed audience’s views on two important characters. In the theatrical version, it’s revealed that Barbara isn’t the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, instead she is Alfred Pennyworth’s niece. In a deleted scene, Alfred reveals “Barbara isn’t really my niece” but the daughter of a Margaret Clark from Metropolis.
Another scene that was cut, for being “too dark”, involved Poison Ivy fatally stabbing Julie Madison, Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend. The knife she uses is supposedly the same one she threatens Batgirl with during their fight scene. The film was also supposed to feature an elaborate subplot where Bruce uncovers Ivy’s secret identity. Succumbing to her use of pheromones, Bruce openly flirts with Pamela Isley, which infuriates Madison. After some in-depth research, Bruce realizes his mistake.
6. SCHWARZENEGGER SUFFERED LEAKAGE AS FREEZE
Schumacher admits there were very little safety concerns regarding warning labels while on set. “This was back in the days when you kind of look at the can and there’s no major skull and crossbones. So you think ‘this is OK to spray in someone’s face.'” stated the director. With a dedicated 11-person staff, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s makeover into the icy Mr. Freeze took four hours.
If having to face an exhausting morning beauty routine wasn’t enough, the actor also suffered battery acid leakage into his mouth. The batteries for the LED lights used would disintegrate once coming into contact with Schwarzenegger’s saliva. Rightfully pissed, the actor shouted “It tastes like sh*t! What’s in my mouth?” An attempt to solve the issue made shooting nearly impossible. After packing the device in a balloon, the lights would only last 20 minutes before dying, causing frequent delays and further aggravation for everyone involved.
5. ALICIA SILVERSTONE FAT-SHAMED AS BATGIRL
As an attempt to attract a female audience, the introduction of Batgirl backfired and caused intense scrutiny when it came to Alicia Silverstone’s weight. The actress suffered backlash when rumors began to circulate regarding her having trouble when it came to costume fittings. Storyboard artist Tim Burgard made the issue even worse by drawing a cartoon of Batgirl struggling to be synched into a corset. While he admits “it was a private joke, just the guys in the art department,” a copy of the drawing quickly made its way through the set.
In an EW article, critics remarked Silverstone “looked more Babe than babe,” referencing the cinematic pig, which prompted Schumacher to issue a statement defending the actress, who was only 19 at the time. The director slammed female journalists who called out her weight gain, saying “What is this girl’s big sin? With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?”
4. SCHUMACHER’S OPINIONS OF VAL KILMER
In 1995, Val Kilmer was given the chance to don the cape and cowl in Batman Forever and expressed interest in reprising the role in Batman and Robin. Much to Schumacher’s surprise, Kilmer decided to “drop[ped] us at the eleventh hour” to join Marlon Brando in Island of Doctor Moreau. The director expressed his distaste for working with the actor to Empire Magazine saying, “Val is the most psychologically troubled human being I’ve ever worked with.”
Schumacher went on to say when communicating with the actor, he had to do so as if he were talking to a five-year old. However, 16 years after the film’s release, the director told a different story in an interview with Syfy.com. “For me, Val Kilmer was the best Batman” he said, “… I thought he brought a depth to the role.”
3. BAT-NIPPLES, BUTTS AND CODPIECES- OH MY!
Batman and Robin‘s DVD extras featured a documentary called Shadow of the Bat which featured exclusive behind-the-scenes stories regarding the film’s production. Aside from the overwhelming optimism that quickly died after the film’s release and Schumacher’s constant reminder that they’re filming a cartoon, a larger portion of the film is dedicated to embarrassing conversations about certain costume additions.
The documentary reveals the infamous “nipple controversy” came as a complete surprise to Schumacher, who wondered whether not including them on Batgirl’s suit would be “sexist.” He admits he was trying to go for anatomical accuracy, basing the design on drawings from medical books. There was also discussion about whether Robin’s… erm… “bat-pole” was bigger than Batman’s, which resulted in a rumor that Chris O’Donnell had bribed the costume designer. When asked about the incident, George Clooney conceded he “did get a nice ass.”
2. VAL KILMER’S ULTIMATE BATMAN MOVIE
Much to DC and Batman fans’ frustration, there is still concern about whether Ben Affleck’s The Batman movie will ever be made, let alone the entire trilogy. With rumors of Affleck’s departure running rampant, many are left wondering who will face off against Deathstroke. Should plans for the “Batfleck” trilogy fall by the wayside, Val Kilmer has a suggestion for a solo film.
The actor pitched an idea for a reunion of all the previous Batman actors who would cameo as villains in the film. MovieNewsGuide.com went even further with the idea and suggested which actor should play each villain. The Dark Knight Trilogy’s Christian Bale would star as Two-Face while George Clooney would play Hush. Michael Keaton would play the lesser-known villain Clock King and Kilmer would portray the Mad Hatter.
1. GEORGE CLOONEY’S BATMAN MOVIE
Kilmer isn’t the only one pitching an idea for a Batman film. George Clooney has also expressed interest in developing a storyline for the franchise. Though not as far-fetched as Kilmer’s idea, Clooney’s would drastically alter the Batman canon. The idea is that after witnessing his parents’ death, Bruce went into a coma.
“He has lived his entire life-all of this hatred- in this room” explained the actor. The set up would begin with the death of Alfred and Robin and have Batman operating “not out of [a sense of] justice, but out of hatred.” The story would then involve the twist that Bruce has suffered a complete mental breakdown, having imagined his entire life as a vigilante. Jack Nicholson would play a doctor with Jim Carrey making a cameo as a television game-show host. Chris O’Donnell would appear as a fellow patient sharing the same room as Bruce Wayne.
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