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 began with the Batman stuff, which sparked the comic book genre. Now, most studios are investing an incredible amount of money in things like that. But movies like Marriage Story… thank God for Netflix because they’ll fund your movie. I don’t think anyone else would be willing to give money for Marriage story. It’s not only a great film, but also thought-provoking and emotionally charged. You’ve got no choice but to watch it, because they are making all these kinds of movies. Like Saints Of Newark. It was a lucky break. 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 was released, and I got attention because of that. My agent called and said that Tim Burton would like to see me. He’s doing a movie, Batman.’ There were never any superhero movies then. This was the first superhero movie. I said, ‘Are you f*cking nuts? Batman? I said, “No, that was 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’s synopsis is: Having seen his parents brutally murdered as a young child, millionaire Bruce Wayne fights crimes in Gotham City as Batman, a superhero who strikes fear into 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? Leave a comment to let us know what you think about this movie.