Pity Val Kilmer, if you will. One of the best actors of our times, Kilmer never got a fair shot to make the Batman franchise his own. Coming on the tail end of two well-received Tim Burton Bat films, “Batman Forever” wasn’t the best representation of the franchise and eventually set the table for the brand-killing “Batman & Robin.”
At the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, Kilmer discussed working on “Forever,” and where things went wrong.
“I think because of Tim Burton’s success on the first film and Nicholson being so amazing that they kind of got carried away with the idea of the bad guy being immune to rules somehow,” he said. “In the original film the Joker gets the hell kicked out of him and thrown off the bell tower. He suffers, and that sort of went away. Things became cute. It’s entertaining, but I think what they’re doing with the Batman films now is more in the original spirit of the character.”
Speaking about those new films, Kilmer was honest. “They are doing what I hoped we would do, but didn’t do,” he said. “Directors like Spielberg and George Lucas don’t wonder what kids think. They go ask them. That was my suggestion: ‘Why don’t we talk to the people who really love Batman?’”
The appreciation was echoed at C2E2 by Adam West, who famously played Bruce Wayne in the wonderfully psychedelic ‘60s television show. Asked what he thinks about the rumor that Batman may die in “The Dark Knight Rises,” West offered a thoughtful response.
“To me, it’s an interesting idea because Batman – the character, the legend, the extension of it over all these years – it lends itself to different machinations, layers, different time zones – anything,” he said. “You could really pretty much mold Batman. He’s malleable, welcome and always interesting. They do The Dark Knight, and I did The Bright Knight. Ours was fun for the whole family.”
Both of the Kilmer and West interviews are well worth reading in their entirety, with anecdotes stretching far past the Bat-verse. It’s too long to excerpt in good conscience, so just check them out for yourself. “The Dark Knight Rises” is just three months away.
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