See The Cast of ‘Batman’ Then and Now
Tim Burton’s 1989 take on ‘Batman’ wasn’t quite as “dark” as Christopher Nolan’s rebooted trilogy that followed 16 years later. But considering the last screen representation of the Caped Crusader was the ’60s era campfest starring Adam West, Burton’s vision was still quite a departure in tone from what audiences were used to seeing from The Dark Knight on screen.
It was also one of the biggest blockbuster hits of the ’80s and the template for many superhero franchises to come. Join us for a look back at ‘Batman’ and see what the cast is up to today.
Michael Keaton, Bruce Wayne/Batman
Then: Michael Keaton snagged the coveted role of the Caped Crusader over stars like Bill Murray, Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson. Keaton established his leading man cred during the ’80s in films like ‘Mr. Mom,’ ‘Johnny Dangerously’ and ‘Gung Ho.’ He also had previous experience working with Burton, having starred as the title character in the director’s 1988 film ‘Beetlejuice.’
Now: Although Keaton hasn’t appeared in a movie since 2010’s ‘The Other Guy,’ he has a couple big time projects on the horizon including the ‘RoboCop’ remake and ‘Birdman,’ in which he will play a fading actor famous for once playing an iconic superhero.
Jack Nicholson, Jack Napier/Joker
Then: Nicholson was a Hollywood legend and two-time Oscar winner when he took on the role of the Joker, beating out actors like Tim Curry and Willem Dafoe.
Now: Nicholson appears to be semi-retired from acting, and his only film credit since 2007 is a small role in long-time collaborator James L. Brooks’ 2010 film ‘How Do You Know.’ However the 75-year-old is still a constant presence at the Academy Awards, having recently presented the Oscar for Best Picture at the 2013 ceremony.
Kim Basinger, Vicki Vale
Then: Basinger was cast as photojournalist and love interest to Bruce Wayne Vicki Vale after Sean Young was forced to drop out of the film following an onset horse riding injury. The former fashion model made herself into a leading lady, thanks to films like ‘The Natural,’ ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Nine 1/2 Weeks.’
Now: Following ‘Batman,’ Basinger was famously sued for dropping out of the racy film ‘Boxing Helena’ and became a tabloid fixture thanks to her public custody battle with ex-husband Alec Baldwin. Despite that, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for ‘L.A. Confidential.’ While we haven’t seen much of Basinger lately — her last big role was in 2010’s ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ — that should change soon as she’s slated to appear in the DeNiro/Stallone comedy ‘Grudge Match’ and the star-studded ensemble piece ‘The Third Person.’
Robert Wuhl, Alexander Knox
Then: Yep, that was Arliss himself Robert Wuhl as intrepid reporter Alexander Knox. The stand up comic was already known to movie fans for his supporting turns in ‘Bull Durham’ and ‘Good Morning Vietnam.’ Between 1996 and 2002 he starred in the HBO sitcom ‘Arli$$,’ which he also created.
Now: Wuhl was last seen as a judge on ‘Franklin & Bash.’ He is slated to appear in the teen comedy ‘Contest’ and is mounting a stage version of his HBO special ‘Assume the Position.’
Jerry Hall, Alicia Hunt
Then: Jerry Hall was best known during the ’80s for being the longtime companion of Rolling Stone legend Mick Jagger. Her role as acid-scarred socialite Alicia Hunt remains her most high profile film role.
Now: Although the Texas-born former model is no longer with Mick, she still lives in England with their four children. Hall was recently a contestant on the British reality competition ‘Strictly Come Dancing.’ She was the second celebrity eliminated.
Pat Hingle, Commissioner Gordon
Then: Veteran character actor Pat Hingle played Commissioner Gordon in all four ‘Batman’ films throughout the ’90s. Hingle’s career stretched back to the ’50s and he counted classic TV shows such as ‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘The Untouchables’ among his many credits.
Now: Hingle died in 2009 at age 84. One of his final roles was as Mr. Dennit Sr. in ‘Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby.’
Billy Dee Williams, Harvey Dent
Then: Mr. Lando Calrissian himself, Billy Dee Williams, played District Attorney Harvey Dent years before Aaron Eckhart claimed the role. Before Williams’ famous turn as the Administer of Cloud City he was best known for playing Gale Sayers in the 1971 tearjerker ‘Brian’s Song.’
Now: The 75-year-old is still a busy actor, popping up on recent episodes of ‘NCIS’ and ‘White Collar’ and providing the voice for Lando Calrissian in various animated mediums. Williams is one of the ‘Star Wars’ alum rumored to be involved in the upcoming J.J Abrams directed ‘Episode VII.’
Jack Palance, Carl Grissom
Then: Jack Palance brought gravity to ‘Batman’ as crime boss Carl Grissom. A former boxer, Palance was a prominent TV, movie and stage actor since the early ’50s. In 1991, he won the Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in ‘City Slickers’ and memorably did a set of one-handed push ups onstage to celebrate his win.
Now: Palance died in 2006 at the age of 87, having only appeared in a handful of TV movies in the 21st century. In addition to acting, Palance was known for his landscape painting and once recorded a country music album.
Michael Gough, Alfred Pennyworth
Then: Michael Gough played Bruce Wayne’s butler and father figure Alfred Pennyworth. He and Pat Hingle are the only actors to appear in all four pre-Chris Nolan ‘Batman’ films.
Now: Gough is notable for an appearance in another Tim Burton movie — he played Notary Hardenbrook in ‘Sleepy Hollow.’ The veteran British actor of stage and screen passed away in 2011 at the ripe old age of 94.
Tracey Walter, Bob the Goon
Then: Prior to playing Joker’s stoic henchman Bob, Walter was perhaps best known as Malak in ‘Conan the Destroyer.’ The shaggy character actor also appeared on ‘Moonlighting’ and in the film ‘Going South’ with his longtime pal Jack Nicholson.
Now: Walter went on to be a memorable presence in films like ‘City Slickers’ and TV on ‘Reno 911′ and ‘Southland,’ among other shows. He played “Scary Gary” in ‘Camp Fred,’ starring internet sensation Lucas Cruikshank and has the recent movie ‘Savannah’ under his well-worn belt.