Ray Liotta was offered the chance to be in Tim Burton’s 1989 version of Batman and felt stupid for turning it down
Last year, we lost Goodfellas star Ray Liotta, who passed away in his sleep at the age of 67. Now Deadline has shared a previously unreleased interview they conducted with Liotta a couple years before he died – and during the interview, Liotta mentioned that he felt stupid for turning down a role in director Tim Burton‘s 1989 version of Batman.
Batman first came up when Liotta was talking about writer/director Noah Baumbach’s Netflix-released film Marriage Story, which he had a role in. He said, “They started with the Batman stuff and triggered the whole comic book genre, and now most of the studios are putting an unbelievable amount of money into things like that. But movies like this one, Marriage Story… Thank God for Netflix, because they’ll finance your movie. I don’t know who else would give money for Marriage Story. It’s a great movie, but it’s thought-provoking and emotional. So, you’ve got to do it because they’re doing all those kinds of movies. Like Saints of Newark. That was a lucky one. I’ve been able to hang on to keep doing these movies because it’s been hard for me in my head to go, ‘Now let me be the bad guy in a comic-book movie.’“
When asked how he missed out on being in a superhero movie when his star was first rising, Liotta answered, “Because I was an idiot. … Something Wild came out, so I was getting attention from that. My agent called me up and said, ‘Tim Burton would like to meet you. He’s doing a movie, Batman.’ There were never any superhero movies then. That was pretty much the first one. I said, ‘Are you f*cking nuts? Batman?!’ I’m going, ‘No, that’s stupid.’ Who was stupid? I was stupid because I didn’t know.“
Burton directed Batman from a screenplay by Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren. The film has the following synopsis: Having witnessed his parents’ brutal murder as a child, millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne fights crime in Gotham City disguised as Batman, a costumed hero who strikes fear into the hearts of villains. But when a deformed madman who calls himself “The Joker” seizes control of Gotham’s criminal underworld, Batman must face his most ruthless nemesis ever while protecting both his identity and his love interest, reporter Vicki Vale.
The actors who did end up in the film include Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Gough, Jack Palance, Jerry Hall, Tracey Walter, Lee Wallace, William Hootkins, Charles Roskilly, and Hugo E. Blick.
Would you have liked to have seen Ray Liotta play Batman, The Joker, or one of the other characters in Tim Burton’s Batman? Share your thoughts on this one by leaving a comment below.