Batman Returns the second film in the Tim Burton era of Batman films, officially turned 25 today and The Hollywood Reporter sat down with the cast and crew of the film to share their thoughts on the film and its legacy.
When Batman Returns was released many were surprised by how dark the film was, this ultimately forced Warner Bros. to lighten the film up when Batman Forever was released, with Joel Schumacher as director and Tim Burton taking a Producer credit.
Here are a few snippets from the interview. For the full interview go to The Hollywood Reporter.com.
MICHELLE PFEIFFER AS SELINA KYLE/CATWOMAN
“I trained for months with the whip master. On our first day together, I caught his face with the whip and it drew blood. It completely shattered me,” she says.
Pfeiffer would go on to perform all of her own stunts with the whip, but found performing on set was infinitely more challenging than at practice.
“I was very nervous on my first day of shooting. I’d gotten pretty good with the whip, but when you show up…you don’t anticipate all the lights everywhere,” she says. “They were set up in places that prevented me from hitting my marks with the whip. So we had to rework the lighting again and again.”
DANNY DEVITO AS OSWALD COBBLEPOT/THE PENGUIN
“It was four-and-a-half hours of makeup and getting into the costume. We got it down to three hours by the end of the shoot,” says DeVito. “I had pounds and pounds of face prosthetics and body padding, and the prosthetic hands, which were hard to use. I kept them on about half the time.”
DIRECTOR TIM BURTON
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed. She had a live bird in her mouth while the camera was rolling,” says Burton. “It was four or five seconds, and then she let it fly out. It was before CG, it was before digital. It was so quick, it seems like it was an effect.”
ON DOING BATMAN 3
“I don’t know if any ideas made it in,” says Burton of the subsequent film. “I realized halfway through my meeting with Warner Bros. that they didn’t really want me to do the movie. They kept saying, ‘Don’t you wanna go back and do a movie like Edward Scissorhands? Something smaller?’ I said, ‘You don’t want me to do the movie, do you?’
SCREENWRITER DANIEL WATERS
“Batman killing the clown by throwing his bomb back at him, that wasn’t in my draft. I know how uptight people are about Batman killing people in the first place,” he says. “To me, if he’s going to kill somebody, it better be worth it. It should mean something. So, when he’s killing people in a devil-may-care way, it’s a little grating.”
“To me, the whole nine lives thing was just a piece of dialogue and vague artistic license. It was never something I considered literally. In my script, and even in the movie, Selina Kyle dies at the end. She’s completely dead after the electric kiss with Walken,” says Waters. “The final shot of her head coming into foreground, that was literally done two weeks before the movie came out. Test screenings showed that people responded positively to the Catwoman character, so the studio wanted a more concrete glimpse that she was still alive.”
COMPOSER DANNY ELFMAN
“I was hearing the whole theme in my head, the A section, B section, French horns, first strings, second strings.… I was really breaking it all down on this incredibly loud 747. Since I was sitting next to somebody, I didn’t want to yell into my tape recorder. So I kept running into the restroom, which was even noisier. I guess the bathrooms were close to the engines or something,” he says. “It was getting weirder and weirder, because I kept going back every 10 minutes with new ideas. Every time I came out, there were more and more concerned flight attendants asking me if everything was OK. This was ‘pre-heavy terrorism,’ otherwise I’m sure I would’ve end up in some type of handcuffs or restraints. Everyone was like, ‘What the f— is this guy doing every 10 minutes?!’
CHRISTOPHER WALKIN AS MAX SCHRECK
“I remember in my office, I had a scene with Michael Keaton and there was a reference to the power plant I was building. I said in rehearsal one day, ‘You know, it would be interesting to have some sort of blueprint or mock-up of what this power plant would look like,’ ” says Walken. “Within an hour, there was a model of this power plant next to my desk. I remember saying to Tim one day, ‘Maybe Max should have a certain kind of cuff links,’ and in an hour they had those cuff links. The people who built things on that movie were just remarkable.”
MICHAEL KEATON AS BRUCE WAYNE/BATMAN
“I can’t say enough for the cast, even the smaller players like Pat Hingle, who played Commissioner Gordon. Michael Gough, my Alfred, I really miss him,” says Keaton, who had a special bond with the British actor, who played Alfred for nearly 10 years through 1997’s Batman & Robin.
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