Tim Burton Felt “Tortured” While Filming Michael Keaton’s Batman, Called It the “Worst period of my life!”

Filming for 1989's Batman was highly secretive. It faced significant on set challenges becoming a hassle and total nightmare for director Tim Burton, which he deemed as the worst period of his life.

Tim Burton Felt “Tortured” While Filming Michael Keaton’s Batman, Called It the “Worst period of my life!”


  • The first Batman feature faced significant challenges. It's mainly because, on set, a few attempts were made to leak footage and images.
  • Media went to extreme lengths, paying for aerial shots and even offered £10,000 to a unit publicist for Jack Nicholson's Joker pictures.
  • It added complexity to the filming process in Keaton's Batman, that's why Tim Burton deemed it a "torture."
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Director Tim Burton brought Batman to life. He was the one who first made the big-budget Batman films and showed that superhero flicks are also worth spending on.


The first Batman hit theatres in 1989, and its sequel, Batman Returns, was released in 1992. This is when he set the tone for the Batman franchise going forward.

Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton as Tim Burton’s Batman

Michael Keaton’s Batman really is the silent warrior of all the Batman movies out there. But a time came when Burton stopped making the third film because his genre of superhero was too dark for Warner Brothers. No matter what, his first Batman will always be iconic. But even though it was a success, he called his superhero flick a “nightmare.”


Also read: “We wanted Zack not James Gunn”: Zack Snyder Says He Wants to Make His Return in DC Universe Under This Condition and Fans Are Already Hyped

Tim Burton Described Filming Batman as His “Torturous Nightmare”

Tim Burton on the set of Batman 1989
Jack Nicholson and Tim Burton on the set of Batman

The first Batman feature faced significant challenges. It’s mainly because a few attempts were made to leak footage and images on its set. For this, news outlet went to extreme lengths.

It paid a cameraman to capture aerial shots using a helicopter with a telephoto lens. Even a unit publicist was offered £10,000 offer for the first pictures of Jack Nicholson as the Joker, which they declined.


The fervor among the public lighted like wildfire when two reels of footage (20 minutes worth) were stolen. It caused the police to be on the set. Tim Burton was frustrated with whatever happened.

He called it “torture. The worst period of my life!” (via Wikipedia). The issues were not limited to this. There were many uphill battles with the filming process.

Also read:  “It’s his choice and we respect that”: James Gunn Reveals the Reason Why Robert Pattinson’s Batman Will Not be a Part of His Rebooted DC Universe


Why Filming of Tim Burton’s Batman was Highly Secretive at That Time?

Batman and Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 film
Batman and Joker in Tim Burton’s 1989 film

The filmmakers initially planned to shoot Batman in Burbank, California. But due to increasing media attention, they shifted the location to Pinewood Studios in England. The filming took place from October 1988 to January 1989. A total of Eighteen sound stages were used, which covered most of Pinewood’s 95-acre backlot.

Its shooting locations included Knebworth House and Hatfield House, which served as Wayne Manor, along with Acton Lane Power Station and Little Barford Power Station. And that’s why the initial $30 million budget soared to $48 million. So, the entire filming was highly secretive. Still, it faced challenges of leaked footage and images.

But if we compare it to the present scenario, it’s easy to take a leak-heavy culture. As everybody has access to mobile cameras in their pockets. But back in 1989, even catching a glimpse of a top-secret blockbuster (that too in the era of Batman’s production) was quite a tough nut to crack.


Also read: “He has what it takes”: Robert Pattinson’s Dream Batman Villain Gets the Most Flawless Fan-Casting in One Underrated YouTube Sensation


Written by Shreya Jha

Articles Published: 947

Shreya is an Entertainment News Writer at Fandomwire. She has over a year of experience in journalistic writing with a deep knowledge of entertainment world. After completing her bachelor's program in Journalism and Mass Communication, Shreya is now pursuing her master's degree in the same. Apart from being an avid reader, she's a huge Swiftie and K-culture buff. So yeah, when she's not writing, she will be caught listening to Tay or watching "Business Proposal" for the 100th time.