Screenwriter Sam Hamm reveals that studio executives initially had a different direction in mind for Bruce Wayne.
Tim Burton’s darkly comic adaptation of Batman premiered in theatres three decades ago, but the first serious blockbuster about Gotham’s caped hero remains a relevant element of pop culture until this day. From the director’s unique stylistic choices, to Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance as the Joker, there’s just so much about the iconic film that still echoes all these years later. Michael Keaton also had a hand in shaping the movie into the landmark it proved to be, bringing Batman’s Bruce Wayne to life. His performance proved such a success, you would think he was the first choice for the role, but, according to Syfy’s recent interview with screenwriter Sam Hamm, this was not the case, and Warner Bros., in fact, had another first choice.
Hamm – who co-wrote the screenplay with Burton and a few other writers who had taken passes as the script – said that apparently, studio executives were more keen on hiring someone with more action movie abilities at first. That someone being … Steven Seagal. “There were a lot of people at Warner Brother who wanted to cast it with an action star,” Hamm explained. “They wanted to cast the part as Batman, as opposed to casting it as Bruce Wayne. You have to make Bruce Wayne work, because Batman is, for the most part, going to be a stunt guy, or it’s going to be somebody running around in a costume in long shot. You don’t need the martial arts expertise of, say, Steven Seagal or somebody like that, because you can fake all of that kind of stuff,” going on to say that Seagal “was one of the people that was suggested” to them.
“Believe it or not,” Hamm continued, after the interviewer’s initial shock, “he had just kind of appeared on the scene, people thought holy cow, this guy’s badass. He could be Batman. I don’t think it ever got to the point where he read for it. He was just one of the names that was floated.” But still, can you imagine an alternate universe where