“Batman was my first big movie”: Joker Actor Jack Nicholson is the Reason Tim Burton Stopped Doubting His Directorial Skills, Gave Us an Iconic DC Cult Classic

“Batman was my first big movie”: Joker Actor Jack Nicholson is the Reason Tim Burton Stopped Doubting His Directorial Skills, Gave Us an Iconic DC Cult Classic
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Tim Burton is known for his impressive roster of films and several accolades under his belt but, just like everyone else, he has to start from the bottom. Made popular by his eccentric choices of films, the director’s first-ever big project was Batman (1989).

Tim Burton
Renowned filmmaker and artist Tim Burton

While the film propelled Burton towards fame, it would be tricky to do so without one name. Jack Nicholson, who played Joker in the movie, helped carve the path for the novice director. One of the biggest stars during that period, Nicholson humbly aided Burton to get his big break.

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How Jack Nicholson Helped Tim Burton Become A World-Renowned Director

Batman 1989 Joker Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson as Joker, Batman (1989)

It was daunting for Burton to work with such A-list celebrities like Nicholson, but it turned out to be one of the most life-changing experiences for him. The director often referred to the Joker actor as an “anarchist,” and in his interview with Empire, Burton said Nicholson’s connection with the studio and overall influence worked wonders on him:

I was relatively new to the whole thing. Batman was my first big movie. It was hard; we shot six-day weeks for the whole schedule, in London. It was very extreme, a big production. And here’s this guy, one of the greatest actors of all time, and he protected me and nurtured me, kept me going, by not getting too overwhelmed with the whole thing.”

Having someone who supported and believed in him was all Burton needed to get through the project. While many up-and-coming directors find it challenging to deal with stellar celebrities, Nicholson was forthcoming with Burton.

I felt really supported by him in a very deep way. I was young and dealing with a big studio, and he just quietly gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do. And him being a voice of support had a lot of resonance with the studio. It got me through the whole thing. It gave me strength.”

That is absolutely a way to build someone up. Now, the world has Tim Burton and his fantastic collection of eclectic and bizarre movies.


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Jack Nicholson Gave Fans One Of The Best Jokers

Jack Nicholson Joker
Jack Nicholson as Joker

Joker is undeniably a fan-favorite DC villain and is often seen as a tough and prestigious role. It goes to say that actors do not choose to be The Joker, but the character chooses the actor and, so far, we have the likes of Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Joaquin Phoenix at the top of the list.

Nicholson’s representation of the Clown Prince of Crime sits alongside that of Ledger and Phoenix and is known as one of the finest portrayals in the history of Batman films.


Source: Empire, MovieWeb

RELATED: Joaquin Phoenix’ Joker Took Inspiration From A 1989 Batman Quote


Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 2035

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.