Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman is now one of the fundamental classics of superhero movies. It was also one of the first massive studio efforts to turn a comic book superhero into a blockbuster film franchise. As a result, many fans know the movie backwards and forwards. But there might still be a few more esoteric pieces of trivia associated with the film that you might not be aware of. With that in mind, here are a few of the most interesting pieces of Burton Batman trivia that we’ve encountered over the years.
It Wasn’t Originally Tim Burton’s Movie
In the 1980's, it took several years for a new Batman movie to get off the ground. During that time a variety of filmmakers were attached to the project, including some fascinating choices that seem pretty bizarre in retrospect. The most bizarre is probably Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, who according to rumor wanted to cast Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy as Batman and Robin in a comedic Batman (!!). Other filmmakers who were in the running before Tim Burton was brought on board include Gremlins director Joe Dante and horror maestro Wes Craven (Craven had some experience with films based on DC Comics characters after directing Swamp Thing in 1982).
Casting during this period was also an open question, so it’s even harder to fathom some of the names that were considered for the role of Batman. Everyone from big stars like Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford to lesser known faces (at the time) like Pierce Brosnan and Willem Dafoe (who has also been mentioned among those considered to play The Joker) being considered. But as fate would have it, we ended up with the Burton Batman film we know and love.
“I’m Batman” Wasn’t In The Burton Batman Script
One of the most memorable of Batman’s lines in the film wasn’t in the original Burton Batman script. Instead, as the story goes, it was Michael Keaton who decided to improvise and say “I’m Batman” instead of reading the less direct “I am the night” as it was written.
Billy Dee Williams Was Supposed To Play Two-Face
If you haven’t watched the Burton Batman in a while, you might not remember that the character played by Billy Dee Williams is actually Harvey Dent, better known as the villainous Two-Face. Dent took on the role on the premise that he would come back in a sequel to play Two-Face, but unfortunately that never panned out -- and he collected a handsome fee when the studio decided to cast Tommy Lee Jones in the part in Batman Forever. But justice was eventually done when Williams got to voice Two-Face in 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie.
That Sketch Of "The Bat-Man" Was Drawn By A Special Artist
You might recall the scene where a humorous sketch of the mysterious vigilante is shown at the offices of the Gotham Gazette. If you look closely at the drawing, you can see the distinctive signature of one Bob Kane, one of the creators behind the Batman comic.
“Jack Napier” Was Invented For The Film
In the DC Comics universe, it’s never been known for sure who The Joker was before he became The Joker, or how that transformation took place. Although the idea of Joker telling different versions of his origin story later turned up in The Dark Knight. But for the Burton Batman film, he was revealed to be a gangster named Jack Napier, who by some odd coincidence, was also the criminal who murdered young Bruce Wayne’s parents.
Michael Jackson and George Michael Were Both Considered for the Soundtrack
Warner Bros was always interested in pairing a top-tier pop star to the Batman project. And given it was the 1980s, it's no surprise that Michael Jackson and George Michael were both considered for the job. But ultimately, the decision was made to go with Prince, who was already under contract with the studio.
There’s Some Product Placement in Batman’s Suit
It’s not quite on the level of Captain Amazing’s corporate sponsorships, but producer Jon Peters did manage to get some Nike products into Batman’s suit. Specifically, he used a pair of Nike Air Trainer IIIs to form the boots of the costume.