Portraying the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman is not easy but Michael Keaton took the character to the next level. Given the talented actor he is known for, his portrayal in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns rekindled the character’s craze across the globe. Not just popular, the movie was an incredible commercial success despite the challenges it faced around the time.
With a good grossing number, it eventually benefitted the cast and crew associated with the movie. However, this turned out to be a major regret for John Lithgow who was offered the antagonist role, which he passed on. It eventually went to Jack Nicholson who hugely earned major profits from the same.
John Lithgow Regretted Turning Down to Play Joker in 1989’s Batman
John Lithgow has an incredible stage presence and diversified his portfolio by working in TV series and movies. Given that he is a talented actor, he was also in talks to play the iconic Joker character in Tim Burton’s Batman.
Talking about his audition for the role, he shared with Vulture,
“My worst audition was for Tim Burton for Batman.”
He continued that he was the one who turned down the offer to play the role.
“I have never told anyone this story, but I tried to persuade him I was not right for the part, and I succeeded.”
However, Charlize Theron’s Bombshell co-star regretted his decision later on as he had no idea that the role would turn out to be a golden opportunity for anyone.
“I didn’t realize it was such a big deal. About a week later I heard they were going after Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson.”
However, it was not the first time he was approached for the role. Director Joe Dante wanted him for the antagonist role in his unmade movie but he passed on that offer at that time as well.
“I was doing M. Butterfly on Broadway and it was an exhausting show. It would have meant leaving that show and going right into a movie, and I said, ‘I just don’t think I can’. How about that for stupid? Actors are not necessarily smart people.”
It turned out to be a huge regret for him later on and the rest is history! Nicholson ended up racking huge profits from his role with intense negotiations.
Jack Nicholson Ended Up Earning Gigantum Earnings from His Joker Role
Jack Nicholson’s career highly escalated due to his portrayal of Joker in the 1989 film. Not just that, he also got himself into the list of one of the richest actors in Hollywood all thanks to his smart negotiation skills. When Warner Bros approached the actor for the role, he had numerous box office successes under his belt, thus turning the whole offer to his advantage.
While he had a standard salary of $10 million for his projects, he asked for a $6 million fixed salary for the role. However, he made sure to add a lucrative clause in his contract of getting a cut of the movie’s box office and merchandise sales if the movie performed better in its theatrical run. Without a doubt, the movie was a commercial hit that eventually boosted his salary with an estimated range of $60 to $90 million.
However, his contract was much more than that as it also gave him a flexible working schedule. Overall, with his smart negotiation skills, he ended up earning much more than Michael Keaton‘s salary who only got $6 million for the caped crusader role.
Batman is streaming on HBO Max.