Quite a big discussion here at the Outpost lately has been about Tim Burton’s two Batman efforts. There seems to be a split. Half of Outposters still retain fond memories of the Summer Of The Bat and the follow-up sequel. Others say the movies have aged poorly and are camp while feeling small and studio-bound.
The sequel was, at the time, criticized for its darker tone that alarmed cinema-going parents across the USA. Now Daniel Waters, the writer of Heathers who wrote the screenplay for Batman Returns, has taken aim at the original in an interview with Indiewire, he claimed to not be a fan of the Burton original and that it “sucks”. In a follow-up interview with World of Reel, he goes on to claim Burton shares his view, and explains why:
“[Tim Burton] was not crazy about Batman. And I wasn’t crazy about it either. It had great production design and all that, but I didn’t like the movie…That scene where Jack [Nicholson’s] going up the stairs to a s— Prince song, spray painting art is the height of anti-entertainment.”
Waters says they were all aware of the hype and the marketing and merchandising circus surrounding Batman. He originally planned to include a store in his version of Gotham City selling Batman merchandise, but Michael Keaton talked him out of it.
Another thing that might have been was revealed when he claimed Warner Bros. had greenlit a spin-off featuring Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman that was in the vein of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People.
That movie is a 1942 supernatural horror film from RKO. Cat People tells the story of Irena Dubrovna, a newly married Serbian fashion illustrator obsessed with the idea that she is descended from an ancient tribe of Cat People who metamorphose into black panthers when aroused. When her husband begins to show interest in one of his coworkers, Irena begins to stalk her. The film stars Simone Simon as Irena, and features Kent Smith, Tom Conway, and Jane Randolph in supporting roles. Waters says:
“He wanted to do an $18 million black and white movie, like the original Cat People, of Selina just lowkey living in a small town, and I wanted to make a Batman movie where the metaphor was about Batman. So I had her move to a Los Angeles version of Gotham City, and it’s run by three asshole superheroes. It was The Boys before The Boys. But he got exhausted reading my script.”
Both Burton and Keaton exited the franchise after Batman Returns. Looking back, it feels like Warner Bros. never really had a clue what to do with the character.
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