Over the last few months, I have attempted to re-watch 1989’s Batman, completed 1995’s Batman Forever, and 1992’s Batman Returns. Of the three, Batman Returns has aged the best and didn’t cause me to collapse into a shame star implosion.
1. In the final film, Paul Reubens and Diane Salinger play the parents of Danny DeVito’s Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot. However, Burgess Meredith, the Penguin in the 1960s Batman series, was first approached to play Papa Cobblepot. Meredith was ill and unable to take the role.
2. In order to keep the Penguin’s birdy henchmen comfortable, the set was kept at 35 degrees Fahrenheit when they were filming. The penguins traveled by refrigerated airplane to the set and were given a refrigerated trailer, a swimming pool filled with a ton of ice daily, and fresh fish.
3. This is the only Batman film that does not reference the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents.
4. David Bowie was initially offered the role of Max Shreck, but Christopher Walken was ultimately cast. Bowie appeared instead in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
5. In one draft of the script, Harvey Dent/Two-Face was going to be a character. All of the lines were later given to Max Shreck and Dent was removed completely from the script.
6. Actresses considered for the role of Catwoman before Michelle Pfeiffer was cast: Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Brooke Shields, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, Jodie Foster, Geena Davis, Sigourney Weaver, Lena Olin, Madonna, Raquel Welch, Cher, Ellen Barkin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Lorraine Bracco, Jennifer Beals and Annette Benning. Benning dropped out of the film after becoming pregnant.
7. Pfeiffer went through 60 Catwoman costumes at $1,000 a pop. Worth it.
8. Pfeiffer had to be vacuum sealed into the Catwoman costume. She was mostly deaf once inside and the costume was so tight that she had a finite amount of time to finish a scene before she was dizzy and in danger of passing out.
9. Michael Keaton insisted on a higher salary to do the film and he got it. $11 million dollars. Director Tim Burton insisted that the film not be a direct sequel to Batman and that was granted as well. The film went on to earn $47.7 million in the first three days, which was crazy good business back then.
10. Batman’s boots aren’t really boots. They are Air Jordans made to look like boots. Keaton also requested a zipper be added to the costume’s pants.
11. Pfeiffer felt that the bird puppets on set looked too fake, so she put a live bird in her mouth for the scene where Catwoman tries to eat Penguin’s pet.
12. This film was the first to use Dolby Surround Sound. It also used CGI in several places, which was new for a live action Batman film.
13. DeVito’s Penguin costume and makeup were a highly guarded secret. He wasn’t allowed to describe it to family or friends and production hired private investigators when photos of Penguin were made public.
14. The Penguin makeup took two to three hours daily. The makeup team wanted him to appear avian in nature, hence the long, pointed nose.
15. The first draft of this script introduced Robin and would have been played by Marlon Wayans. This would have been the Tim Drake version of Robin before it was ultimately scrapped from the final film. Incidentally, Keaton has never watched the completed version of Batman Returns and only did the film to help bankroll a real estate deal.