/mtv/ - Music, Television & Film

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What Could Have Been: BATMAN in film Anonymous
BATMAN by Tom Manciewitz >Originally, Mankiewicz had wanted an unknown actor for Batman, William Holden for James Gordon, David Niven as Alfred Pennyworth, and Peter O'Toole as the Penguin. A number of filmmakers were attached to Mankiewicz' script, including Ivan Reitman and Joe Dante. Reitman wanted to cast Bill Murray as Batman, Michael J. Fox as Robin, and Eddie Murphy as The Joker. >The original script was written by Tom Mankiewicz, an on-set writer for the Superman movies. It bores little resemblance to the final movie, and was made to keep the project alive as directors and creatives looked at it and either showed interest or passed it on. >The Mankiewicz script opens in Wayne Manor in 1960 when Bruce Wayne is ten years old. His father, Dr. Thomas Wayne, is running for City Council. The family, including Bruce's mother, Martha, and their butler, Alfred, are established in some gentle scenes demonstrating that young Bruce is a science whiz who has even created a hologram in his basement laboratory. >The family goes out to a movie to see the Audrey Hepburn film THE NUN'S STORY and afterwards the inevitable robbery and murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne take place while they're on their way back to the car. Joe Chill is the killer in this version of the movie, but he's depicted as a contract killer. >The reason Mankiewicz chose to open the film with the death of Bruce Wayne's parents, rather than build up to something this brutal and shocking, was to establish the reality of the film, which was the same purpose behind having Marlon Brando portray Jor-el in the first Superman film. He also wanted to show more of Bruce's time growing up after the murders took place to portray his growth, similar to Kal-El growing up in Smallville. >Rupert Thorne has Thomas Wayne killed in order to win an election bid. >Using a newspaper headline reference to Richard Nixon, we realize that it is now the early 1970s and one night Bruce encounters some street criminals (portrayed as typical biker thugs) who shoot a man in front of his wife and daughter. This is all too familiar to Bruce and he confronts the hoods and in a brutal fight scene he overcomes them. When Bruce realizes that the crime victim has died, it has a profound effect on him. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce accidentally discovers a cave beneath the home, and the bats he finds in there inspire him and ultimately lead to him becoming Batman. >Batman's first appearance in the movie would have been an unconventional one, taking place in a subway train. >Silver St. Cloud was a major character in the script, as much of the script's storyline was based upon the Strange Apparitions mini-series. She would have been Batman's main love interest, working for a smitten but resentful Rupert Thorne. >The script also contained a party sequence at Wayne Manor, much like the final film. In this script however, The Joker would crash the party and rob all of the guests, ultimately humiliating Commissioner Gordon. The Joker is later revealed to be in cahoots with Rupert Thorne. >The Penguin would also have made an appearance in the film as a secondary villain, described as having a body temperature of 65 degrees and living in sub-zero temperatures. He would've been portrayed as more gaunt and thin than the usual portly rotund version seen in the comics. >Another sequence would take place on a TV game show. A contestant is in front of a huge slot machine which begins showing images of The Joker on the video screens until the real Joker bursts out of one of them and holds the contestant and the audience at gun point. The Joker then announces that from that moment forward, whenever the Batman makes a public appearance, a prominent citizen of Gotham City will be murdered by the Joker. >Bruce Wayne attends the opera and an imposter Batman attends the party as a set-up to ruin Batman's reputation. >Some people in the crowd jeer the Batman, which appears to make him angry, but Commissioner Gordon escorts him back outside. Rupert Thorne invites the Mayor to sit near him and we soon see that a huge chandelier is hanging above where the Mayor is seated, and one of the crystals contains a clear liquid. When the force of a sung high C causes the crystal to crack, the liquid leaks out, infecting the Mayor and his party who begin laughing hysterically—a typical Joker gag—and then abruptly die. >The real twist in all this is that the next day Rupert Thorne is appointed the acting Mayor. Batman is blamed for the deaths as much as the Joker is and Thorne brands the Batman a criminal. >This leads to a sequence in which Bruce questions his own effectiveness because now the image of Batman has been tarnished. >Dick Grayson would be introduced late into the script, complete with his origin where Bruce and Silver attend the circus to see the Flying Graysons perform. They are killed by the Joker, setting up Dick's transformation into Robin. >Dick Grayson is portrayed in his early to mid teens as opposed to his older depiction in Batman Forever. >Unlike the comics, Robin would take a crusade against Batman, as the Batman imposter also appears at the scene and is ultimately blamed for his parent's demise. He later discovers the true culprit and Batman's true identity as he discovers the Batcave below Wayne Manor after his adoption. >The climax of the movie would take place in a museum, where The Joker has kidnapped Silver St. Cloud. When Batman drops down through the skylight, his cape gets hooked on a giant prop. Robin would make his entrance and free Batman. While this is going on, Rupert Thorne would emerge and free Silver St. Cloud from where she had been bound to the giant typewriter ribbon. >When Silver sees that Batman is about to be attacked from behind, she warns him but inadvertently calls him Bruce. Thorne realizes the significance of this and goes to shoot Batman, but one of the thugs crashes into Silver and she accidentally falls into the line of fire and takes the bullet meant for Batman. >Batman goes after Thorne and uses a giant rubber band to spear Thorne with a giant thumbtack, which knocks Thorne into a giant pencil sharpener, which proceeds to grind Thorne up. After this, Batman returns to Silver to embrace her in her last moments. >The script ends with Batman standing on the top of a building at sunrise while Robin comes up behind him.


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