Regardless of the movie roles he takes, Michael Keaton appears like an agreeable guy. From his laidback appearances on late-night shows to his early stabs at stand-up comedy, Keaton’s sense of humor always seems within reach.
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But talks weren’t so warm when it came to Michelle Pfeiffer appearing in Tim Burton’s Batman series, according to Den of Geek. The website reported in March 2021 that Pfeiffer might have been a part of the franchise even earlier were it not for Michael Keaton’s protestations.
Why Wasn’t Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman with Michael Keaton?
According to Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Pfeiffer might have appeared as Vicki Vale in 1989’s Batman were it not for a complication in her offscreen relationship with Michael Keaton. The website says the two previously dated and, when Keaton was trying to mend ties with his ex-wife, didn’t want to be seen onscreen with Pfeiffer.
Not only did Pfeiffer end up in Batman Returns anyway, she and Michael Keaton also mended bridges, according to a Hollywood Reporter interview published in April 2022.
Also worth mentioning: Another actor, Sean Young, was in line for the role of Vicki Vale before it ultimately went to Kim Basinger.
OK, So … Why Wasn’t Sean Young in Batman with Keaton?
According to a Daily Beast feature called “Sean Young on Surviving Hollywood’s Many Toxic Men,” published in March 2021, she confirmed that a broken arm she suffered during pre-production derailed her from being part of Batman.
Young was apparently training for a scene featuring her, as Vicki Vale, riding a horse.
“They did spring the horse-riding thing on me, and I fell and had an accident,” Young said. “Could they have kept me on the show and shot around my arm? They probably could have. I think [producer] Jon Peters had this hard-on for Kim Basinger, and he saw an opportunity to exit me, and he did. And no one ended up being very happy with that choice. But it is what it is. I had an accident and then got walked to the door.”
Den of Geek noted that, perhaps ironically, the horse-riding scene didn’t make it into the movie at all.
As apparent from her Daily Beast interview, Young didn’t let go of the Batman mishap. Den of Geek said Young led a “very public campaign” — albeit an ultimately unsuccessful one — so director Tim Burton would cast her as Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns. Of course, the role went to Pfeiffer instead.