As we gear up for the release of Matt Reeves ‘The Batman’, I thought I’d take a look at the previous films, and share some hidden truths about the movies you may not know. Starting where it all began, with the original film from 1989, a film that still to this day as cemented Michael Keaton as the best Batman of all time amongst fans.
Did you know? Robin Williams was actually offered the role of Joker when Jack Nicholson hesitated. Williams even accepted the role, when producers approached Nicholson again and told him Williams would take the part if he did not, Nicholson took the role, and Williams was released. Robin Williams hated the fact he was used as bait, and in 1995 when he was offered the role of the Riddler in ‘Batman Forever’, Williams refused. He actually refused to be involved in any Warner Bros. project until they apologized to him.
Did you know? Michael Keaton, who calls himself a “logic freak”, was always a bit concerned with the fact Batman’s secret identity could easily be uncovered. He discussed ideas with Director Tim Burton to better disguise the character, including the use of contact lenses. Ultimately, Keaton decided to perform Batman’s voice at a lower register, to differentiate the two characters. This technique became a staple of future portrayals of Batman in film, television, and video games, especially those of Kevin Conroy and Christian Bale.
Did you know? Michael Keaton actually came up with the famous “I’m Batman” line. The line in the script was “I am the night”.
Did you know? Several actors were considered for the role of Harvey Dent including Don Johnson, Dale Midkiff and William Petersen. Billy Dee Williams took the role with the expectation that he would be brought back to play Two-Face, and reportedly had a contract clause added reserving the role for him. During the casting though of the 1995 film ‘Batman Forever’, Warner Bros went with Tommy Lee Jones, and bought out Williams’ contract.
Did you know? Kim Basinger was the original choice to play Vicki Vale, but her agents wouldn’t let producer Jon Peters meet with her unless he made her an offer. In the end Basinger’s schedule became to busy for her to take the role. Sean Young was cast instead. But then Young broke her collarbone while practicing horseback riding for a scene set on the grounds of Wayne Manor she dropped out of the movie. Basinger then received an emergency call one week before the commencement of filming, and accepted the part.
Batman Returns (1992)
Did you know? During filming at least fifty percent of the Warner Bros. lot was taken up with Gotham City sets.
Did you know? Danny DeVito was very committed to his role as The Penguin that he actually remained in character between takes.
Did you know? During a talk show appearance, Michelle Pfeiffer stated that once filming was over, she never wanted to see the costume again for as long as she lived. Michelle Pfeiffer said that her Catwoman costume was vacuum sealed once she was fitted into it for scenes, so she actually had only a short amount of time to perform before she would have to have it opened or she could become lightheaded and pass out. The catsuit was so tight that Pfeiffer often had trouble hearing her own voice. Tim Burton had to tell her to lower her voice register, because she would often shout her dialogue instead of just saying it.
Did you know? Warner Bros. had to constantly submit new Catwoman posters for various cities, as many of the bus stop ads were being stolen. It got so bad that police officers had to patrol bus stops in order to stop people stealing them. It’s actually been said that the large scale Catwoman bus ads are now worth a great deal of money.
Did you know? Batman doesn’t wear boots in the movie, they’re Air Jordan 6’s connected to an upper which give the boot-like feeling.
Did you know? Annette Bening was first to be cast as Catwoman, but was replaced by Michelle Pfeiffer when she became pregnant.
Batman Forever (1995)
Did you know? Jim Carrey’s original idea in the film to shave a question mark into his scalp was scraped, as he was due in court to finalize his divorce.
Did you know? Before deciding he didn’t want to play Batman for a third time, Michael Keaton met with Joel Schumacher and declined to join the project after deciding that he did not like the direction in which Schumacher was taking the film series. In the brief time that Tim Burton was still considering doing a third Batman film, Riddler was the only villain that he planned on using. Two-Face was added to the cast once Schumacher joined the project.
Did you know? The Batmobile was normally driven by stunt drivers. In the joyride scene though actor Chris O’Donnell who played Robin, insisted on driving it himself. He crashed it into a curb, and dented a fender.
Did you know? Leonardo DiCaprio turned down the role of Dick Grayson/Robin because he didn’t like Joel Schumacher’s direction. It was also considered to return Michelle Pfeiffer’s role of Catwoman, but later dismissed.
Did you know? Val Kilmer learned he was the new Batman while he was literally in a bat cave in Africa, doing research for his film The Ghost and the Darkness. He accepted the role without reading the script.
Did you know? Rene Russo was originally cast to play Dr. Chase Meridian when Michael Keaton was still attached to the project as Batman. However, when Keaton dropped out of the project and was replaced by Val Kilmer, Russo was denied the role.
Did you know? Scheduling conflicts with Braveheart forced Mel Gibson to turn down the role of Harvey Dent/Two-Face.
Batman & Robin (1997)
Did you know? Joel Schumacher had several meetings with Warner Bros., trying to convince them to let him make another Batman movie. He wanted to take the film back to its darker roots and make a “Batman: Year One” movie. Schumacher wanted to cast Kurt Russell as a young Commissioner Gordon, and Selina Kyle as a young, beautiful African-American woman living in the ghetto.
Did you know? Chris O’Donnell confirmed in a 2012 interview that a Robin/Nightwing spinoff was planned, alongside a film titled “Batman Unchained”. However he reported the plans were scrapped after the poor reception of “Batman & Robin.” After the film’s poor box office returns, several Batman projects were considered for the next Batman movie. One was a direct sequel, “Batman Unchained,” written by Mark Protosevich. The second was an adaptation of the graphic novel, “Batman: Year One.” The last was a live-action adaptation of Batman of the Future (1999). Instead Warner Bros opted to reboot the franchise.
Did you know? After Val Kilmer refused to return for this film, David Duchovny was considered for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. He was also later considered for the role of the epic film Batman Begins.
Batman Begins (2005)
Did you know? Christian Bale lost his voice three times during filming, after altering his voice while playing Batman.
Did you know? Heath Ledger was considered for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman during this movie’s early development before Ledger and Nolan agreed he was not right for the role.
Did you know? Only a few days before the role of Batman was cast, eight actors were asked to audition for the part. They were Christian Bale, Joshua Jackson, Eion Bailey, Hugh Dancy, Billy Crudup, Cillian Murphy, Henry Cavill, and Jake Gyllenhaal. David Duchovny was once again considered to play the part of Batman since he was considered for Batman & Robin (1997).
Did you know? Sir Michael Caine signed on to play Alfred for the chance to work with writer and director Christopher Nolan. He has now appeared in every Nolan movie since.
Did you know? Writer and director Christopher Nolan decided that there would be no second unit, and so for the whole 129 shooting days, Nolan oversaw every shot of the movie personally.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Did you know? Sir Michael Caine has been quoted as saying on Heath Ledger’s Joker in comparison to Jack Nicholson; “Jack was like a clown figure, benign but wicked, maybe a killer old uncle. He could be funny and make you laugh. Heath’s gone in a completely different direction to Jack, he’s like a really scary psychopath. He’s a lovely guy and his Joker is going to be a hell of a revelation in this picture.”
Did you know? In preparation for his role as the Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a motel room for about six weeks. During his seclusion, Ledger delved deep into the psychology of the character. He devoted himself to developing the Joker’s every tic, namely the voice and that sadistic laugh.
Did you know? When casting the part of the Joker, Nolan met with several other actors before Ledger, but found them reluctant to take the role because of the popularity of Jack Nicholson’s performance in Batman. Upon meeting with Ledger again, Nolan recognized him as the perfect choice for the part. When asked the reason for this unexpected casting, Nolan simply replied, “Because he’s fearless.”
Did you know? Even though Christopher Nolan offered her the part, Katie Holmes decided not to reprise her role as Rachel. Instead, she opted to star in Mad Money. among the actors considered for the role were Sarah Michelle Gellar, Isla Fisher, Emily Blunt, and Rachel McAdams. The role ultimately went to Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Did you know? About a year before this movie’s release, Christopher Nolan mentioned he was considering using a mixture of CGI and deleted scenes from The Dark Knight to have the Joker appear briefly. He ultimately decided it was disrespectful to Heath Ledger.
Did you know? Tom Hardy accepted the role of Bane without reading the script. He was told that he would have access to extensive stunt training and equipment that he could enjoy knocking around.
Did you know? To prepare for her role as Catwoman, Anne Hathaway worked out five days a week on a exercises that involved vigorous stunt training, and dancing. She called it her most physically demanding role to date.
Did you know? Anne Hathaway has said that she desperately wanted the role of Catwoman. The first time her agent phoned after her screentest, he said he had good news and asked if Hathaway was sitting down. Hathaway immediately screamed “I’m Catwoman!” and ran around the room in a frenzy. Unfortunately, her agent had to calm Hathaway down. He had called to let her know that she’d been invited to host the Academy Awards. Fortunately only a short time after she had been offered the part of Catwoman as well. Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Kate Mara, Gemma Arterton, Jessica Biel, Blake Lively, Lady Gaga, and Charlotte Riley (Tom Hardy’s fiancée at the time), all auditioned for the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman.
Did you know? To prepare for his role as Bane, Tom Hardy gained thirty pounds and studied various fighting styles. Bane’s theme is a chant which features the term “deshi basara”, is Moroccan for the word “rise”.
Did you know? Anne Hathaway revealed that during her audition, she thought that she was auditioning for Harley Quinn. It was only after she had a discussion with Nolan that she found out that she was auditioning for Catwoman.