See the Cast of ‘Batman’ Then and Now
Back in 1989, Tim Burton introduced audiences to a new version of the caped crusader with his ‘Batman’ film, starring Michael Keaton as the dark hero and Jack Nicholson as his foe, the Joker. The film was, of course, a massive success, spawning three sequels (though Burton and Keaton only returned for the first) and paving the way for the darker, more serious superhero films we have today. Twenty-five years later, we revisit the cast of this comic book movie classic and see what they’re up to now.
Michael Keaton, Bruce Wayne/Batman
Then: The studio pressured Tim Burton to cast either a big name star like Mel Gibson or Kevin Costner, or a big action star for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. He favored Michael Keaton, instead, who previously appeared in Burton’s ‘Beetlejuice,’ and whom he felt could bring an edgy, tortured quality to the role of his version of Batman, inspired in part by Alan Moore comics ‘The Killing Joke’ and ‘The Dark Knight Returns.’
Now: Keaton reprised the role for Burton in ‘Batman Returns,’ and went on to appear in films such as ‘My Life,’ ‘Speechless,’ ‘Multiplicity’ and ‘Jackie Brown.’ More recently he’s voiced Ken in ‘Toy Story 3′ and appears in the remake of ‘RoboCop.’ You can catch him next in ‘Need for Speed’ and ‘Birdman,’ and he’ll reportedly return for a ‘Beetlejuice’ sequel.
Jack Nicholson, Jack Napier/The Joker
Then: Jack Nicholson was a producer-favorite for the role of the Joker as far back as 1980. Tim Burton wanted character actor Brad Dourif, but the studio denied his request. Other actors considered included Tim Curry, Willem Dafoe, James Woods and rock icon David Bowie. Robin Williams allegedly lobbied very hard for the part, but Nicholson won out, playing the most iconic version of the villain until Heath Ledger took his turn in Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight.’
Now: Nicholson reunited with Burton in 1996 for the sci-fi comedy ‘Mars Attacks!’ and also appeared in the films ‘As Good As It Gets,’ ‘About Schmidt,’ ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ and ‘The Departed.’ He’s been acting less in recent years with his two last roles being in 2007′s ‘The Bucket List’ and 2010′s ‘How Do You Know,’ though he insists he has not retired just yet.
Kim Basinger, Vicki Vale
Then: Kim Basinger played Vicki Vale, a photojournalist and Bruce Wayne’s love interest. ‘Blade Runner’ star Sean Young was originally cast in the part but had to bow out due to an injury. Michelle Pfeiffer was suggested, but Michael Keaton thought it would be too awkward because they were dating at the time. (Pfeiffer went on to play Catwoman in the sequel with Keaton.) Kim Basinger, star of ‘Blind Date,’ was cast instead.
Now: Basinger went on to star in ‘Cool World,’ ‘Wayne’s World 2,’ ‘L.A. Confidential’ and ’8 Mile.’ From 1990 to 2001, she was married to actor Alec Baldwin, with whom she shares a daughter. Her recent film credits include roles in ‘The Informers,’ ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ and ‘Grudge Match.’
Robert Wuhl, Alexander Knox
Then: Comedian Robert Wuhl played Alexander Knox, a newspaper reporter who teams up with Vicki Vale to investigate the mysterious Batman, a vigilante hero who has been fighting crime on the streets of Gotham. Wuhl’s character was supposed to die in the original script, but Burton liked him so much, he decided to let the character live.
Now: Wuhl went on to star on the hit series ‘Arli$$,’ which ran from 1996 to 2002. He’s had roles in the films ‘Blue Chips,’ ‘Cobb’ and ‘Good Burger,’ and made appearances on the shows ‘Boston Legal’ and ‘Everybody Hates Chris.’ More recently he had a recurring role on ‘Franklin and Bash.’
Pat Hingle, Commissioner Gordon
Then: Pat Hingle played Commissioner Gordon, Batman’s friend on the police force who alerts him to crime in Gotham with a special bat signal. Hingle was already a veteran actor at the time, having begun his career on Broadway and appearing in films like ‘Brewster’s Millions’ and ‘Maximum Overdrive.’
Now: Hingle passed away in 2009 at the age of 84. He reprised the role of Commissioner Gordon in ‘Batman Returns,’ ‘Batman Forever’ and ‘Batman and Robin,’ making him one of only two actors to appear in all four films. His legacy includes roles in films like ‘Norma Rae,’ ‘The Falcon and the Snowman’ and ‘The Grifters.’ His final film role was in the 2006 Will Ferrell comedy ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.’
Billy Dee Williams, Harvey Dent
Then: Billy Dee Williams, best known for playing Lando Calrissian in the ‘Star Wars’ films, played Harvey Dent, a Gotham City district attorney who targets the mob in an effort to clean up the city. Williams was cast because Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face in the comic books, and Burton wanted to use the villain Two-Face in a future film, and thought an African-American actor would be an interesting choice.
Now: Williams appeared in the films ‘The Ladies Man,’ ‘Undercover Brother,’ ‘Fanboys’ and ‘Barry Munday.’ His many television appearances include guest spots on ‘Scrubs,’ ‘Private Practice,’ ‘Lost,’ ‘General Hospital’ and ‘White Collar.’ More recently, he lent his voice to a LEGO version of Lando Calrissian in ‘The LEGO Movie,’ and he guest starred on episodes of ‘Key and Peele’ and ‘Modern Family.’
Jerry Hall, Alicia Hunt
Then: Supermodel Jerry Hall played Alicia Hunt, Jack Napier’s girlfriend, whom he splashes in the face with the same toxic chemicals that turned him into the villainous Joker. Hall previously appeared in episodes of Shelley Duvall’s ‘Faerie Tale Theatre.’
Now: Hall married Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger in 1990, but the pair split in 1999. She appeared on the British series ‘Cluedo’ as Miss Scarlett, and had small roles in the films ‘Princess Cariboo’ and ‘Vampire in Brooklyn.’ In 2005, Hall starred in her very own VH1 reality series, ‘Kept,’ in which she attempted to transform 12 young, attractive guys into sophisticated gentlemen worthy of her love through a series of challenges. Since then, she appeared on the British shows ‘Hotel Babylon’ and ‘French and Saunders,’ and in 2012 she was a contestant on the British dance competition show ‘Strictly Come Dancing.’