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Bill Murray Explains Why He Passed On Playing Batman Role

by : Cameron Frew on :
Bill Murray Explains Why He Passed On Playing Batman Role
Bill Murray Explains Why He Passed On Playing Batman Role (Alamy)

Bill Murray nearly donned the cowl. Alas, he's now explained why his Batman movie was never meant to be.

Robert Pattinson is the latest star to take on the mantle of the caped crusader in Matt Reeves' The Batman, scrapping Bruce Wayne's playboy antics for a hangdog, angry recluse mercilessly beating goons to a pulp in the rain.

However, if there's one defining takeaway from the hero's screen legacy, it's that every iteration is rather different: Michael Keaton was quietly unhinged; George Clooney was... well, not great; Christian Bale brought the highest level of prestige to Batman; and Ben Affleck's Arkham-hardened dark knight was an absolute beast.

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Bill Murray nearly played Batman. Credit: Alamy
Bill Murray nearly played Batman. Credit: Alamy

Likely harkening back to Adam West's comic take on the character in the 1960s, the Ghostbusters star was once tipped to take on Batman with the late Ivan Reitman, starring alongside Eddie Murphy. This would have come before Keaton teamed with Tim Burton for their seminal live-action blockbuster in 1989.

Murray would have played Batman, while Murphy would have starred as Robin. Unfortunately, the project never progressed beyond the page, and it faded into an obscure near-miss for the actors, until the hype surrounding The Batman.

In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Murray recalled, 'I talked to Eddie Murphy about it, and Eddie wanted to play Batman. That’s as far as that conversation went.'

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Eddie Murphy didn't want to play Robin. Credit: Alamy
Eddie Murphy didn't want to play Robin. Credit: Alamy
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'I don't wanna be the Boy Wonder to anybody. Maybe much earlier, when I was a boy. But it was too late for that by the '80s. Also, I couldn't do the outfit. Eddie looks good in purple, and I look good in purple. In red and green, I look like one of Santa's elves. There was just a lot of vanity involved in the production. It wasn't gonna happen,' he added.

Michael Uslan, a key Batman producer ever since acquiring the rights in the late 1970s, confirmed Murray's Batman was once in the works. 'That was purposefully kept away from me. Things are meant to happen, and they happen,' he said.

Several actors have been considered for Batman over the years: before Affleck was cast in Batman v Superman, Jon Hamm was reportedly the top pick; Ethan Hawke was offered the role before Val Kilmer for Batman Forever; Pierce Brosnan was the first choice for Burton's first Batman movie; and Heath Ledger, who unforgettably played the Joker in The Dark Knight, even auditioned for Batman Begins.

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Bill Murray, Entertainment, Batman