What Might Have Been: Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger was a model-turned actress who went on to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.  She’s been a Bond girl and Batman’s girlfriend.  Not to mention an iconic sex symbol of the 80’s thanks to movies like 9 1/2 Weeks.  But like any successful actress, Basinger had to pass on a lot of roles that could have taken her career in a different direction.

foster - taxi driver

Taxi Driver (1976)

Kim Basinger was offered the role of Iris, but had to turn down in order to continue to work as a model.

Fall Out: Scorsese’s first choice to play Iris was Melanie Griffith. But Griffith’s mother, legendary actress Tippi Hedren, objected to her daughter playing a prostitute.  Basinger and Linda Blair were the second and third choices.  After they passed, approximately 250 actresses were considered. Bo Derek, and Carrie Fisher, Mariel Hemingway, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear and Kristy McNichol were all considered for the role before Jodie Foster was cast.

Critics loved Taxi Driver and it was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actress for Foster. Meanwhile, Basinger’s acting career consisted of guest appearances in TV show’s like Charlie’s Angels.

Verdict: Missed Opportunity


Posted on December 8, 2014, in Movies, What Might Have Been and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 106 Comments.

  1. Wow, if Kim Basinger took this part, there would have been two models playing pivotal roles in “Taxi Driver” (I know Cybill Sheperd was focusing on acting at that point, but still, a fun thought for me).


    • There are certain movies that every actress in Hollywood competed for. There are other movies that every actress in Hollywood turned down. So you will see Taxi Driver, The Accused and Silence of the Lambs a lot in What Might Have Been. Somehow, all three of those parts went to Jodie Foster. Thelma and Louise and Ghost are also movies which were passed on by just about every A-list actress at the time. Post Batman, Basinger was in a position to pick and choose, so she turned down a lot of roles.


      • Nothing against Kim Basinger, but I don’t see her in a lot of those roles anyway, mostly because I think her presence would alter the tenor of the project.


        • I agree. It seems Basinger was up for numerous high-profile films/roles over the years, but I honestly can’t say any one of these films would have been better with Kim Basinger in them. LeBeau put it perfectly with Sleepless In Seattle, “Meg Ryan was genetically engineered to make rom-coms”. This of course makes me imagine some weird sci-fi future where scientists in a high-tech lab must create the perfect perky, cute, immensely likable actress to star in romantic comedies…. to save the future of humanity. Thank you for that, LeBeau.

          Where was I? Oh yeah, like LeBeau said Basinger was always more sultry, and not quite right for romantic comedies, so you can throw Sleepless In Seattle, Ghost, and even an action flick like Speed that relied heavily on Reeves and Bullocks’ chemistry out the window, they probably wouldn’t have connected in the same way with audiences. I hate to say it but her best bet among this list would’ve been a Batman 2 since the first one was a monster blockbuster and the 2nd would’ve been a big hit and kept her around the A-list for a bit longer just by association.


        • I agree with your agreement. Batman Returns would have extended Basinger’s time on the A-list. Of the movies I covered, it was probably the biggest missed opportunity. I get the impression that Burton kind of regrets rejecting the Sam Hamm script. He admits it was a fine script. He just didn’t want to repeat himself and he felt the script was too similar to the first movie. He wanted a big departure and he got that with the final script for Batman Returns. But all the rewrites made for a mess of a movie that most audiences do not find satisfying.

          Incidentally, if you want to read Hamm’s script for Batman 2, you can do so here.

          Here’s a peek at the original happy ending:


           ALFRED loads 'SILENT NIGHT' on the CD.  VICKI ambles up to
                     What are you going to do with all that
                     I dunno.  Might be a good start on a place
                     to live -- for some people who don't have
           She hugs him.  DICK plugs in the Christmas-tree lights; they
           blink to life just as the GRANDFATHER CLOCK strikes twelve.
                     It's Christmas.
                     Yeah.  Maybe you should -- open your
           She runs a hand along his cheek and laughs softly.
                     Oh, Bruce, presents doesn't matter.  None
                     of it matters.  We're all safe.  We're
                     ...You might as well.
           He digs around in his jacket pocket and produces a tiny GIFT
           BOX, which he hands to VICKI.  She unwraps it, opens it slowly
           -- and sees a DIAMOND RING inside.
           She gazes up at him, speechless.  He gazes back.
           CAMERA PULLS UP and away until we can see the whole of the
           devastated room, and all the people in it -- VICKI, falling
           into BRUCE's arms; DICK, off to one side, watching them;
           ALFRED, tossing broken furniture into a roaring fireplace.
           And on the image of this decidedly eccentric family unit, we
                                                                FADE OUT.


        • That’s pretty much my take. In fact, I came away from this thinking that Basinger pretty much had the career she was supposed to have. She turned down successful projects, sure. But by and large, most of them just weren’t a good fit.


        • I agree, I couldn’t see her career any other way. Besides, playing sultry paid off for her in a big way in 1997 (now would Meg Ryan be a good fit for a femme fatale in “City Confidential”? Maybe, but I think it’s unlikely).


        • I meant “L.A. Confidential” (though I’m a big fan of the TV series “City Confidential”, and recorded quite a few episodes, be it the late Paul Winfield or Keith David narrating). Well, at least I didn’t call it “L.A. Noire” (one of the most unique games I ever played).


        • Speed (1994) : What if Kim Basinger played Sandra Bullock’s character?

          I think it would have been worse. Kim Basinger can only play sexy or doe-eyed characters. Kim Basinger would have had to get her hands too dirty for this role. It would be interesting to see, if there were a parallel universe, what it would turn into though. Verdict: It would not have been as successful.


        • Re: What if Kim Basinger played Sandra Bullock’s character?

          Bullock has a bubbly personality that works in movies like this. This is fast-paced action with quips and snarky dialogue. Basinger can handle snarky, but her personality is too introverted. Bullock is more outgoing. Also, while Bullock was cute and attractive, Basinger was GORGEOUS and people would have spent to much time looking at her instead of paying attention to her character.


        • I seriously wonder how well Kim Basinger would’ve done in romantic comedies like those from Meg Ryan in her prime? “Blind Date” w/ Bruce Willis is the closest thing that I can immediately think of that Kim Basinger has ever done that could remotely be considered a “romantic comedy”. I think that it would be kind of hard to imagine Basinger as a lead in a romantic comedy because as said before, she seems naturally more sultry than a plucky, cute, immensely likable “every woman”. I really doubt that Kim during her prime had many female fans, whom could easily connect with her (which is kind of a requirement to be a successful romantic comedian).


        • Yeah, Basinger dabbled in those type of films with “Nadine” and “Blind Date” , but I just don’t think she was seen as the type for those roles, and then again, she played those roles when she was breaking out and she wasn’t defined yet, so I just don’t think pursuing those type of parts would be on her mind anyway. But by the time she was establish, I don’t think audiences wanted to see her in light romantic roles.


        • Maybe I wrong, but Kim Basinger perhaps, seems like one of those actors or actresses who is really only as good as her director. Kim’s main strengths as an actress are arguably her insane beauty, sensuality/sultriness and her sensitivity/vulnerability. But Kim can also arguably sometimes come across as kind of a charisma vortex. She always has to speak in a breathless, timid, somewhat flat tone of voice. And then she’ll “overcompensate” by delivering a too emotionally overwrought performance (e.g. “Cellular”). I read somewhere that Kim Basinger’s trademark style of acting is to always like like she’s ready to run off the set and cry.


        • I liked her in “Cellular” though (like the entire premise really); she had to perform the whole one person play deal for most scenes, and I feel she acquitted herself well.


        • Kim Basinger probably isn’t the most even-keel actress out there. She’s the type of actress who arguably, excels best at more quiet, intimate scenes, but she none the less, will more than often, play things at two radically different extremes. What I mean is that sometimes, it seems like she lacks confidence or natural ease in her acting. And then on another end, when she actually has to be more “on”, she becomes too self-aware (that she has to put on a “performance”) or over-extends.

          Kim Basinger when you get right down to it, is for better or worse, the classic “window dressing” type of actress. Because Kim is so stunningly beautiful, you just want to spend the whole time staring out her. But when she actually has to act, she sometimes well take you out of the movie for whatever the reasons.


        • I say this with the “utmost respect” to Ms. Basinger, but I believe that her onscreen personality/temperament, is for the most part, a tad bit on the mousy and delicate side. With something like “Speed” (and lets get out of the way the chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves) , the character of Annie Porter kind of requires you to be as cool, calm and collected as possible. And I just don’t know if Kim Basinger is the time of actress who can plausibly get through under pressure. It’s therefore, kind of hard to shallow seeing Kim movies in which is pretty much required to act more tough and/or assertive.


        • One key problem w/ the premise in a movie like “Cellular” is that it’s quite obviously (w/ the whole movie concerns technology of the day) bound to date itself rather quickly.


        • Ironically, “Cellular” seemed to in a way, Kim Basinger’s way of “making up” for passing on “Speed”. Both movies involve a lone hero having to solve a number of difficult situations over the course of a day while tethered to a “life or death” set of rules (hang up the phone and you’ll never find the woman you’re trying to rescue/let the bus stop or slow down and everybody on it dies).


        • What kind of troubles me about a movie like “Cellular” is that the it’s a movie that’s seemingly designed/set up (rather intentional or not) to make Kim Basinger look incredibly demeaned, foolish, and disrespected.

          Like there’s a scene if I remember correctly, where Jason Statham’s bad guy character says to Chris Evans’ character, “Even the bitch has more fight then you”. And then there’s another scene (which is supposed to be a crowning moment of “bad ass”) where this big bald headed thug is pinning down Basinger and in self-defense, Basinger stabs the guy in the heart. Naturally, in the process, the thug also refers to Basinger’s character as a “bitch”.

          The whole movie seems to be Kim Basinger’s past damsel-in-distress roles like Vicki Vale and her Bond Girl character in “Never Say Never Again” turned up to 11.


        • Re: Basinger i,i,i,i,is a,a,awful in this…

          Yes maybe the movie is (a little) above average but KB did NOT deliver (anything but hysterical melodrama) and was not bad she was AWFUL.

          The worst part about her performance was probably not her fault, it’s the director’s. And the director gets a lot of his – er – direction from the script. What doesn’t gel about Jessica’s character is the shrieking over-reaction to violence together with the calm reconstruction of a telephone; the totally girly fight she puts up followed by accurate slashing of an artery and the then almost nonchalant explanation of the damage she had done to him and how much blood he was going to lose… and so on.

          As for the dialogue – hmmm, well, lots of rather silly gaps there. Ryan always seems at a loss for words when a quick, short explanation could have saved a lot of confusion in a few situations but that at least was consistent. KB’s role however seemed to be short of lines in some places but it over-did it in others.

          Ah well, where would we be without movies to pick apart.


        • I think all those opinions in the posts ring true, but I still like the film, probably more than “Speed”, simply because I was less saturated by it.


        • I think that Kim Basinger is one of those actresses, who in hindsight, is probably better when she’s part of an ensemble or if she is the predominate female in the movie like with “Batman”, she isn’t exactly the main engine drawing the action.

          As I said before, Kim Basigner arguably isn’t the most charismatic for wide-ranging performers out there. Other than her beauty, Basinger kind of doesn’t have much of a presence or anything else to the table. That’s probably one of the reasons why she got pigeonholed as a “sex symbol” much to the detriment of her later career.

          If you stick Kim in something more “heavy-duty” and ask her to pretty much carry the bulk of it, she’ll likely wind up embarrassing herself.


        • How Batman II Became Batman Returns

          Batman II

          In the months before Batman’s phenomenal success, screenwriter Sam Hamm hinted to Comics Scene that he really wanted to use Two-Face and explore how heroic DA Harvey Dent (played by the unflappably charismatic Billy Dee Williams in the 1989 film) became the tragically deranged Two-Face. However, Warner Bros. and Burton had other ideas.

          Likely based off the popularity of Burgess Meredith’s foul performance in the 1966 Batman TV series, WB insisted that Penguin be the big bad of Batman II. Further, both Hamm and Burton had a thing for Catwoman.

          “They really wanted the Penguin,” Hamm explained in the 2005 documentary Shadows of the Bat. “Because they sort of saw the Penguin as the number two Batman villain. We wanted to do Catwoman, so we wound up doing Penguin and Catwoman.”

          The result was two drafts Hamm turned in for Batman II, which would have made a very different present than what we finally unwrapped in 1992. Literally continuing from the first line of his 1988 Batman screenplay (which began by describing Gotham as “hell has erupted through the sidewalks”), Hamm’s treatment was a direct follow-up to the 1989 film.

          While it was certainly Hamm’s conceit to set the Batman sequel in the doldrums of Holiday Cheer, the blanket of snow and Christmas wreaths were more a decorative ornamentation around St. Batman, and the story feels like a direct expansion of what came before: Bruce Wayne is still dating Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale and is even engaged to her by the end, and he is fighting criminals of the same cartoon-noir decadence as Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Sure, one bad guy is dressed like a dastardly Santa Claus, but instead of having a comical toy gag like the Penguin’s umbrellas in the final film, evil Santa is sporting an AK-47 and mowing down police officers with the kind of stylized grittiness associated with the first Batman picture.

          Batman II might have been an interesting film since it would have carried over many more of the elements from the 1989 experience that people loved. The villains were psychotic and violent, but they were not freaks in that patented Tim Burton way. The Penguin is a small time criminal with a penchant for birds—which he often uses as weapons with Hitchcock-inspired attack pigeons—and Selina Kyle is the highly sexualized vamp that she’s usually portrayed as in the comics, albeit turned up to 11. Her costume is described as literal “bondage” gear, and she has no qualms about massacring large groups of men with assault rifles or her own claws.

          However, Batman II further attempted to ground the title character back in his comic book roots. Bruce Wayne (and even Vicki Vale) is far more the protagonist than he ended up being in the finished film, and one who has developed a strict “no kill” policy. The story is also haphazardly about Bruce Wayne trying to protect the homeless, who are about to get Giuliani’d in Gotham’s Central Park equivalent. He’s also uncovering the secret history of the Waynes.

          This leads to the rather lackluster main plotline about Penguin and Catwoman murdering the wealthiest men in Gotham (and framing the Batman while doing it) in an attempt to collect secret “Raven” statues, which ultimately leads to a Christmas Eve Agatha Christie-esque visit to Wayne Manor in the bizarre hope of finding buried treasure hidden (unbeknownst to Bruce) in the Batcave. Oh, and it also introduces Robin as a 12-year-old homeless orphan kid that knows martial arts.

          Obviously a busy take on the character, these early drafts needed plenty of work. Still, they maintained the old Hollywood feel of the previous movie. If Batman drew liberally from wiseguy gangster dramas, Batman II appeared to be pulling from The Maltese Falcon except with Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor doing the public service of bumping off the most corruptible of one percenters.

          Burton was severely disappointed in this approach and wouldn’t sign the dotted line. Not until WB promised, in Hamm’s words, to let Tim make a “Tim Burton movie,” as opposed to a Batman sequel.


        • I was looking forward to a follow-up on the Harvey Dent starring Billy Dee Williams (who I was familiar with as Lando Calrissian and being charismatic in those Colt 45 commercials; at that time I had yet to see “Nighthawks” or 1987’s “Deadly Illusion”), so I was disappointed when he wasn’t in “Batman Returns” (a film I liked more in 1992 than I do now). The best Harvey Dent/Two-Face to me is still from “Batman: The Animated Series”, because I think even Aaron Eckhart’s “The Dark Knight” version is kind of rushed through (especially the Two-Face portion).


        • It seems to me with Kim Basinger, much of her acting or her very approach to acting seems to mostly be based on instinct than a truly acute skill or practice. I was reading an old People magazine article from around the time that “8 Mile” came out, and Curtis Hasnon, the director, noted that normally Kim doesn’t come to rehearsals.

          One of the more intriguing comments that I read is that Kim Basinger has an “Elizabeth Berkley in “Showgirls” type of quality. What I mean is that she for better or worse, has a seemingly fearless willingness to try anything no matter how silly or foolish she may come across. For example, there’s “My Stepmother is an Alien”, which Elizabeth Berkley in “Showgirls”, we’re actually SUPPOSED to be laughing at Kim Basinger.


      • Batman Returns: The Evolution of the Darkest Batman Movie:

        On its anniversary, we look back at Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, and how it is the bleakest and most unique superhero movie ever.

        Who broods more than Batman? That’s the point of view filmmakers took with Batman Returns, a Tim Burton art-piece masquerading as blockbuster entertainment. The bleakest and kinkiest superhero movie ever made, Batman Returns takes the first line of the original Sam Hamm screenplay to heart: “It’s finally happened; Hell’s frozen over.”

        Decorating his urban decay with shiny Yuletide wrapping, Burton and his collaborators crafted the most artful cape and cowl picture—a German Expressionist painting so cynical about the holidays, abhorrent commercialism, and the supposed goodwill of man that Ebenezer Scrooge might even cringe. How this definitively anti-Christmas movie got made on a staggering $80 million budget and then slapped on the back of McDonald’s Happy Meals is almost as fascinating as the skintight vinyl of the movie itself.

        Batman Returns is the perverse product of studio logic that in desire to repeat success allowed for a wholly different creature to claw its way past the red tape of formulae and onto the big screen.

        Following up on the financial rewards of 1989’s Batman was a no-brainer in the immediate aftermath of its world domination. The highest grossing movie all time upon its release, the Caped Crusader took in an unheard of $400 million worldwide and toppled the summer’s other heavy hitters, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Ghostbusters II. But more impressively, the Dark Knight reached pop culture icon status in a way never before seen when his simple gold-and-black logo became ubiquitous on every T-shirt, trading card, and toy store window. It was inescapable for everyone…except for perhaps a slightly nauseous Tim Burton and Michael Keaton.

        Whereas studio executives and even screenwriter Hamm were clamoring at the idea of “Batman II,” Burton famously called a continuation of the film in 1989 a “dumbfounded idea.” Consider that while Batman was nigh universally loved during the heights of Batmania, Burton described the film to Empire magazine in 1992 as “a little boring at times.”

        Keaton held out for a significant pay raise, but Burton wanted the discretion of choosing a screenplay and story different than what came before—a decision that would drastically change the direction of the picture and perhaps the entire franchise.
        Batman II

        In the months before Batman’s phenomenal success, screenwriter Sam Hamm hinted to Comics Scene that he really wanted to use Two-Face and explore how heroic DA Harvey Dent (played by the unflappably charismatic Billy Dee Williams in the 1989 film) became the tragically deranged Two-Face. However, Warner Bros. and Burton had other ideas.

        Likely based off the popularity of Burgess Meredith’s foul performance in the 1966 Batman TV series, WB insisted that Penguin be the big bad of Batman II. Further, both Hamm and Burton had a thing for Catwoman.

        “They really wanted the Penguin,” Hamm explained in the 2005 documentary Shadows of the Bat. “Because they sort of saw the Penguin as the number two Batman villain. We wanted to do Catwoman, so we wound up doing Penguin and Catwoman.”

        The result was two drafts Hamm turned in for Batman II, which would have made a very different present than what we finally unwrapped in 1992. Literally continuing from the first line of his 1988 Batman screenplay (which began by describing Gotham as “hell has erupted through the sidewalks”), Hamm’s treatment was a direct follow-up to the 1989 film.

        While it was certainly Hamm’s conceit to set the Batman sequel in the doldrums of Holiday Cheer, the blanket of snow and Christmas wreaths were more a decorative ornamentation around St. Batman, and the story feels like a direct expansion of what came before: Bruce Wayne is still dating Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale and is even engaged to her by the end, and he is fighting criminals of the same cartoon-noir decadence as Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Sure, one bad guy is dressed like a dastardly Santa Claus, but instead of having a comical toy gag like the Penguin’s umbrellas in the final film, evil Santa is sporting an AK-47 and mowing down police officers with the kind of stylized grittiness associated with the first Batman picture.

        Batman II might have been an interesting film since it would have carried over many more of the elements from the 1989 experience that people loved. The villains were psychotic and violent, but they were not freaks in that patented Tim Burton way. The Penguin is a small time criminal with a penchant for birds—which he often uses as weapons with Hitchcock-inspired attack pigeons—and Selina Kyle is the highly sexualized vamp that she’s usually portrayed as in the comics, albeit turned up to 11. Her costume is described as literal “bondage” gear, and she has no qualms about massacring large groups of men with assault rifles or her own claws.

        However, Batman II further attempted to ground the title character back in his comic book roots. Bruce Wayne (and even Vicki Vale) is far more the protagonist than he ended up being in the finished film, and one who has developed a strict “no kill” policy. The story is also haphazardly about Bruce Wayne trying to protect the homeless, who are about to get Giuliani’d in Gotham’s Central Park equivalent. He’s also uncovering the secret history of the Waynes.

        This leads to the rather lackluster main plotline about Penguin and Catwoman murdering the wealthiest men in Gotham (and framing the Batman while doing it) in an attempt to collect secret “Raven” statues, which ultimately leads to a Christmas Eve Agatha Christie-esque visit to Wayne Manor in the bizarre hope of finding buried treasure hidden (unbeknownst to Bruce) in the Batcave. Oh, and it also introduces Robin as a 12-year-old homeless orphan kid that knows martial arts.

        Obviously a busy take on the character, these early drafts needed plenty of work. Still, they maintained the old Hollywood feel of the previous movie. If Batman drew liberally from wiseguy gangster dramas, Batman II appeared to be pulling from The Maltese Falcon except with Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor doing the public service of bumping off the most corruptible of one percenters.

        Burton was severely disappointed in this approach and wouldn’t sign the dotted line. Not until WB promised, in Hamm’s words, to let Tim make a “Tim Burton movie,” as opposed to a Batman sequel.
        “A Tim Burton Movie”

        What finally brought Tim Burton onboard for the sequel was the free rein that he and his handpicked new screenwriter, Daniel Waters, received for their vision. Burton had been a fan of Waters’ work on the ultimate dark teen comedy, Heathers (think Mean Girls except actually mean). As a result Burton and Waters had a level of latitude relatively unprecedented before or since with superhero movies.

        “Tim and I never had a conversation about ‘what are fans of the comic books going to think?’” Waters said in the Shadows of the Bat documentary. “We never thought about them. We were really just about the art.”

        As a result, and with Keaton’s insistence (who deleted much of Batman’s dialogue by choice in the scripting process), the focus bounced back from Batman to the villains, who changed dramatically in the script.

        As Burton himself expressed, he never really got the appeal of his main villain in the comics. “You could find the psychological profile of Batman, Catwoman, Joker, but the Penguin was just this guy with a cigarette and a top hat. What is he?!” Burton mused in 2005.

        The result was Waters and Burton agreeing to turn the Penguin into a tragic figure every bit as freakish as the Batman. Indeed, Oswald Cobblepot became a repulsive mirror for our hero, a child of wealth who lost his parents when he was abandoned in the sewers on Christmas Eve like a freak show version of Moses.

        Also, as Burton admitted to Empire in 1992, Waters brought a political and social satire element to the plot by taking from the Batman TV series and having this repellent oddity run for Mayor of Gotham in a recall election (think episodes “Hizzoner The Penguin” and “Dizzoner The Penguin”). This was only made possible by the smiling machinations of Gotham industrialist Max Shreck, a Waters invention. “I wanted to show that true villains of our world don’t necessarily wear costumes,” Waters said to Empire.

        However, his most unique change was his metamorphosis of Selina Kyle from street-wise femme fatale to the ultimate 1990s feminist allegory. “Sam Hamm went back to the way comic books in general treat women,” Waters told Film Review in 2008. “Like fetishy sexual fantasy. I wanted to start off just at the lowest point in society, a very beaten down secretary.” While the ripped costume stitches came from Burton, Waters imagined Catwoman being a psychological (and sexual) fable about the feminine. It was a change Waters half-joked in 2005 that he was ready to “lose the job” over.

        Other changes included distancing itself from Batman II’s strict “no kill” policy subplot. Instead, Batman liberally murders many, many people in Batman Returns. “A lot of people complained that our Batman actually killed people,” Waters said in a 2005 Batman Returns special feature. “Some purists would say, ‘Batman would never kill people!’ But I would always say, ‘We don’t live in the time where you can drop criminals off with a net on the front of City Hall.’ The times are darker, so you have to make your character darker.”

        Waters ultimately wrote five drafts, which changed aspects drastically. Max Shreck was initially Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent (Catwoman’s electro-kiss at the end of Batman Returns would have left him with the scar and split personality), and in a later draft, Shreck became the Penguin’s long lost brother, a secret Cobblepot (a layer that had to be removed from an overstuffed script). Even Robin made an appearance. However, as Waters later described Robin as “the most worthless character in the world,” his and Burton’s attempt was half-hearted at best: Robin was a fully-grown Batmobile mechanic with a faded “R” on his jump suit uniform. Marlon Wayans was even cast in the role and an action figure was made until the character’s last-minute excision from the screenplay. Wayans still gets residual checks for his two-picture Robin deal (Joel Schumacher later opted to recast Robin with white actor Chris O’Donnell for Batman Forever despite Wayans’ contract).

        Christmastime in Hell

        The actual production of Batman Returns went relatively well after more pre-production nightmares. Danny DeVito was the first and only choice to play the Penguin, a role that Waters admitted he wrote for with DeVito in mind, but the casting of Catwoman was an ordeal unto itself. Despite casting Annette Bening in the role, even Burton and company couldn’t anticipate how strange the role’s importance would become. After Bening had to drop out at the last minute due to pregnancy, many, many actresses campaigned for the part through traditional channels—including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madonna, Bridget Fonda, and Cher—but they all paled in comparison to Sean Young, the actress who played Vicki Vale for several days until a horse riding injury caused her to be replaced on the original Batman production.

        Convinced that as a result she should have been given the female lead in Batman Returns, Young appeared unannounced on the Warner Bros. lot in a homemade Catwoman costume with the intent of making an on-the-spot audition for Burton. The director reportedly hid under his desk from what he later described as a “UFO sighting,” but producer Mark Canton recalled the event vividly for Shadows of the Bat.

        “Michael Keaton and I saw Sean Young dressed as Catwoman leap over my sofa and say, ‘I am Catwoman!’ We looked over at each other and went, ‘Woah.’”

        Burton wisely went on to finally cast Michelle Pfeiffer in one of her most iconic roles.

        Burton had similar struggles with WB about the new approach to the film, causing him to abandon the sets and aesthetic of the 1989 film. Tragically, the designer of those Oscar winning sets, Anton Furst, committed suicide in 1991, but WB had left them untouched at Pinewood Studios in the UK for the inevitable sequel. However, Burton was adamant that a new look and approach be designed from the bottom up for Batman Returns, leading to the claustrophobic gothic fantasias created by Bo Welch at WB and Universal’s Californian soundstages.

        “I wanted to use American actors in supporting parts,” Burton told Empire in 1992. “I felt Batman suffered from a British subtext. I loved being over there, but it’s such a different culture that things got filtered. They could have brought somebody else in for the sequel, and had the same sets, and shot in London, but I couldn’t do that because I’d have lost interest. I wanted to treat it like it was another movie altogether—there’s no point in doing the exact same thing again.”

        Indeed, the result was a very, very different movie.

        The Greatest Anti-Christmas Gift of All

        After all the production grappling hooks and fights, it’s still a bizarre wonder to behold: a superhero film in the studio system that purely and unapologetically revokes the mainstream culture it pertains to exist for. In the days of the Marvel Studios assembly line, this is a Christmas miracle.

        Batman Returns is not a Batman movie; it’s a modern psychosexual gothic fairy tale that happens to enjoy some broad similarities with characters that have appeared in DC Comics. In short, it really is a Tim Burton movie, much more so than even the studio could have expected.

        Rather than having a three-act structure of escalating narrative tension, this Batman sequel acts as an intentionally obtuse physical manifestation of its supposed protagonist’s fractured psyche, as well as a denouncement of the culture that birthed Batman and made him a merchandising must-buy item during the heights of Bat-mania—a fact someone may have tried to dull since a self-satirical “Bat-mania” merchandising store that gets smoked by the Penguin’s goons was erased in editing, as seen in the picture below.

        This actual purpose of Burton and Waters’ approach is so overbearing that Wesley Strick was brought aboard to do an uncredited polish of Waters’ final draft. The main reason? WB wanted Penguin to have a master plan, which only added to the nastiness of Burton’s reverse Moses. If Waters and Burton had Penguin abandoned by his parents as a baby in a raft on Christmas Eve, Stitch gave us the relatively dippy third act scheme of Penguin trying to lure all of Gotham’s first born children into the sewer and to a deep watery grave. This then gives way to blowing them all up with rocket-sporting penguins.

        But that paradoxically disturbing kitsch did little to undermine the true purpose of the film: all three villains, including Christopher Walken’s scene-stealing and truly evil businessman, Max Shreck, are twisted reflections of the hero.

        Shreck is a populist businessman who makes fools out of Christmas revelers early in the movie by gaining their love with worthless presents tossed into a crowd (not unlike how Joker earned Gothamites’ adulation by throwing away $20 million to the greedy and materialistic masses in Batman). He shares the same public persona that Bruce Wayne mimics, except there is not much beyond his greed. Maybe Bruce Wayne could be every bit as vain and self-interested as his rival billionaire if the death of his parents hadn’t set him on the path of the freak?

        Shreck is also thus the true protagonist of the movie, as his proactive manipulation sets everything in motion. Keaton has the wonderful early moment of sitting near-comatose in his brooding Wayne Manor until the Bat-signal comes on, but Shreck waits for no one else’s time. He’s the reason the Penguin made good on his fiendish fantasies of bedeviling Gotham. Initially, Penguin may have wanted revenge on all the wealthy children that had the life he never enjoyed, but the blubbering freak is also the character that Burton spends the most time with and is by far the most sympathetic towards.

        As seen in an above portrait, drawn by Burton’s own hand, the Penguin’s childhood is imagined to be an unhappy one robbed of the materialism afforded to Bruce Wayne and the far less vengeful Max Shreck. While Wayne used his wealth to become a vigilante, and Shreck uses it to procure more power—as Walken gleefully muses, “There’s no such thing as too much power; if my life has a meaning that’s the meaning”—Penguin just longs to be accepted like an even more grotesque version of the Phantom of the Opera that would not have tween theatergoers swooning at his sorrow.

        When the Penguin’s monstrous visage is embraced by the fickle masses that literally buy anything Shreck sells them (he owns all the department stores on Christmas), Oswald is contented until Shreck convinces him to run for mayor. This is merely done to obtain more of that aforementioned power from the mindless electorate who sigh for Penguin one day and throw tomatoes at him the next. Oswald Cobblepot is a freak of nature, an oddity as coded by his animal nom de guerre as Batman and Catwoman, but he longs for acceptance. He only begins blowing up storefronts when Shreck eggs him on to create a phony crisis for a recall election, and it’s only when he’s rejected by society that he literally goes Biblical on Gotham.

        The end of the movie is not focused on Batman, because his villains are both the stars and his character arc. As they reach and fail, the empty gestures of the Dark Knight’s pathetic crusade are underlined and unpacked for both the hero and his audience. That is why the climax of the picture is about Selina Kyle’s revenge and the Penguin’s ultimate demise, a death treated with far more tragedy than Bruce Wayne’s pity parties.

        During their final confrontation, the boorish Penguin hisses to Batman, “You’re just jealous because I’m a genuine freak, and you have to wear a mask.” Batman concedes, “You might be right.” Burton and Waters certainly think so.

        But the crowning achievement of Batman Returns is Selina Kyle’s expressionistic arc to the edges of 1990s feminism and beyond.

        Forget comic book changes—for a more comic accurate Catwoman, see the also excellent and memorable (if intentionally subdued) turn by Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises—Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is one of the all-time great villainesses of film, and is certainly a richer role than any actress has enjoyed in a superhero movie since.

        Pfeiffer plays Selina Kyle as a modern day storybook princess that is decidedly the antithesis of the kind that sell out Disney department stores every December. Selina Kyle begins the picture as a mousy secretary who doesn’t even get a close-up for the first 25 minutes of the movie. Taught be the “good girl” her whole life, Selina lives in a one-bedroom apartment adorned with all the codifying trinkets of eternal girlhood expected of her. Dollhouses; stuffed animals; pink furniture. Yet, strangely, her prince has never come, but she is told via intrusive phone solicitors that if she buys the right perfume that maybe she’ll be able to seduce her boss and get a promotion.

        And as it so happens, Selina’s boss is, of course, Max Shreck. He instigates her transformation when he makes her admit that he is being “mean to someone so meaningless.” This is her plea for mercy before he has his way with her and pushes her out the top floor of a skyscraper. The fall should have killed her and probably did, but in typical Burton fairy tale logic, she is resurrected by cats and she now has nine lives. In the hands of typical studio hacks, this would have been unbearably awful (and it was when WB made a belated cash-in spin-off with 2004’s Catwoman, starring Halle Berry), but in Batman Returns, it serves a purpose for both her tragic arc, as well as Batman’s.

        Selina Kyle becomes the Catwoman and in the process destroys all tokens of her submissive girlishness, taking control of her sexuality with a fetishistic homemade costume. But while Burton plays up the kinkiness of her relationship with Batman by having their foreplay fights devolve into actual cat-licking make-out sessions, Selina is never anything less than victimized or marginalized by men in the story.

        After joining forces with Penguin, he decides to kill her when she won’t go to bed with his flippers. Having a romance with Bruce Wayne during the day leads to him trying to arrest her at night. And with each negative encounter, her costume is further destroyed. A literal representation of the expressionist ideal, Selina can only give order and sanity to her world by making this cat-costume. After each tear and rip, her visually expressed dream crumbles, as does her mental faculties. The influence on this concept is heavily apparent by simply the name of the man who first abused her by pushing her out that window: Max Shreck, which is also the name of the actor who played Count Orlock in F.W. Murnau’s 1922 masterpiece, Nosferatu.

        At the end of the picture, the Disney happy ending is achieved. Realizing that Selina Kyle and Catwoman are one in the same, Batman unmasks himself as Bruce Wayne, crystallizing how she (as with Penguin and Shreck) is a doppelganger for his own inner-turmoil. “We’re the same, split right down the center,” Bruce pleads, begging her not to lose her soul by murdering Shreck. She agrees they are the same, but Batman is a hypocrite who lost his own soul long ago when he gave into to his demons and put on this costume; we’ve even seen him kill plenty of times in this very movie. To give into Bruce would be allowing a man to once more make her decisions—to domesticate her for his own ends.

        “Bruce, I would love to live with you in your castle forever, just like a fairy tale,” she deliriously mumbles before scratching him across the face. “I just couldn’t live with myself. So don’t pretend this is a happy ending.”

        Indeed, it is not; it’s a tragedy of operatic proportions, a fact that’s heightened by Danny Elfman’s eerily melancholy score. Catwoman rejects finding redemption with Batman and does murder Max Shreck in the sewers. This is the beating heart of Batman Returns; Bruce Wayne loses because he’s only fighting shades of himself. Batman fails to stop Catwoman from following his dark path when she kills Shreck and gets away with it, and he likewise suffers only a pyrrhic victory over the Penguin, as he watches his grotesque reflection die from a self-inflicted fall. The monster is carried off by mournful penguin ushers to his aquatic grave.

        Despite the colorful costumes, the giant rubber duckie Penguin gets around on, and plentiful groan-inducing puns spat out like a horrid open mic night by all the villains, Batman Returns is infinitely darker than Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. While each of Nolan’s masterful films is far more violent than Batman Returns, and each is littered with more serious downers, even its dreariest entry The Dark Knight concludes somewhat triumphantly. The Batman may only win because of a political conspiracy and cover-up, but he is still the “hero Gotham deserves.”

        There are no heroes in Batman Returns. Tim Burton’s second film ends in complete misery and cynicism on Bruce Wayne desolately alone for Christmas Eve with only Alfred Pennyworth and Selina Kyle’s abandoned cat to keep him company. He failed to save Catwoman and he admitted to the Penguin that he’s jealous of the short man’s natural freakishness. Returning to the noirish undertones of the first Batman film, Burton has a truly noir ending where the hero fails to simply be even that. The materialistic masses of Gotham City go on oblivious to the evil machinations of the owner of their department stores, and Bruce vanishes into the snowy darkness.

        Besides Nolan, no filmmaker has had so much carte blanche in making a superhero movie, nor has one reached the heights of artfulness attmpted by these two filmmakers. There are better superhero movies than Batman Returns (I wouldn’t even call it Burton’s best Bat-film), but few are as personal, and none are as unforgivably grim…on Christmas.

        Perhaps unsurprisingly, we never saw Tim Burton’s Batman 3 (which is an article unto itself), but he still got his own final word on the Caped Crusader. That’s probably the greatest gift of all. With goodwill toward men. And women.


        • Wow, that was comprehensive look at “Batman returns”. I feel that the film itself is uneven but interesting, and a less wise version of myself really liked it when I viewed it in the theater in 1992 (AMC Theater forever!).


        • Tom Petty is Jervis Tech (Mad Hatter): A theory

          In the facts that I’ve researched, I know it wasn’t planned. But it definitely fits. If you look at the video’s for “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (1985) and “Last Dance With Mary Jane” (1994) as short film stories, you can connect a pretty cool story as they and the Batman films were chronologically made.

          In “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (1985), “Alice” is obviously lost and confused by everything going on around her. Tom Petty, clearly the Mad Hatter, focuses on only her until the end. He also doesn’t seem insane, he seems in control of the situation and angry. Everyone else in the video seems to be doing things to serve him. Mad Hatter didn’t have henchmen in the classic lore He just had a mouse and a rabbit. But Jervis Tetch in the Batman lore did… with mind control. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that this could be seen as a short film depicting Jervis Tetch’s first (and maybe only) organized crime of drugging and killing the woman he is obsessed with. But it’s told from “Alice’s” drugged perspective.

          Batman wasn’t around to stop him because Batman didn’t surface until 1989. One could believe that before the time Batman DID show up, Jervis would have been smart enough to lay low and distance himself from his crime. Maybe get a job that wouldn’t ask questions when he continues his research on the physical mind. A mortician perhaps? A city with a high death rate like Pre-Batman Gotham would be lucrative and provide many unused brains for a mortician. SO Tom Petty’s Hatter is laying low as a mortician in Gotham City while Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger have their story in “Batman” (1989).

          In Batman Returns (1992), during a conversation between Bruce Wayne (Keaton) and Selina Kyle (Pfeifer), Bruce talks about Vicki Vale (Basinger) in the past tense. He goes on further to imply they didn’t work out. They’ve broken up. So where is Vicki Vale now?

          In the music video “Last Dance With Mary Jane” (1993), Tom Petty (Jarvis) is a mortician who seems bored and unamused, like he feels above the job of a mortician. That is until he sees the body of Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale). Wait, Vicki died? Put a pin in that thought for a moment. He becomes obsessed with this long haired blonde corpse with fair skin. Perhaps reminds him of “Alice”. He takes her home and has a very creepy “date” with her. It heavily implies an insane obsessive disorder like Jervis Tetch has. During the “date” he wears a hat. It’s hard to tell specifically what hat it is because it’s black in a dark setting most of the time. But it’s definitely a tall hat.

          This music video certainly seems like the story of Jervis Tetch’s brief revisiting of his obsession with “Alice” through a night with the corpse of Vicki Vale. Even the art direction of the video itself seems like a cross between Burton and Shumaker’s style. But that would mean Vicki Vale died, right? How? Well at the very end of the video, Basinger surfaces to the water alive. I choose to believe Vicki Vale, as a investigative reporter of her caliber, was playing dead to uncover very wrong experimentations on corpses. She found Jervis. I would imagine she would write the story and either the police or Batman came to collect him.

          Now if we can just get Tom Petty to make a music video where Batman or the police comes to apprehend him wearing a tall dark hat!


        • Imagining Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face (a “what might have been” within itself)


        • I was looking forward to Billy Dee Williams transitioning to Two-Face, and I remember wondering back in the day why that didn’t happen..



          A: Not from top to bottom. The films that I’ve seen are The Natural, because Robert Redford made me go to the opening because it was a benefit for Sundance, and I learned from that what a horrific experience it was to watch myself. And I went to the premiere of Batman.

          Q: What’d you think of that one?

          A: When I walked on that set, after Sean Young took a dive off a horse or whatever happened to her, I felt the thunder under my feet the first day, how big the movie was going to be. It wasn’t a movie, it was an experience. I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, wondering when I was going to land. Michael and Tim Burton were great; Nicholson was just Nicholson, we got along fine. The most important thing that came from it is my relationship to children now, and who I am to them. They could care less about Kim Basinger–when I walk into a children’s hospital or a school, it’s all about Vicki Vale.

          Q: Any interest in reviving that character in future sequels if they asked you?

          A: I haven’t heard anything about Batman 3. But if Vicki Vale could continue, absolutely I would do it if I had a chance to reach as many children as the first one did. The second Batman was a much darker thing, so there wasn’t much to capture the children.



          Did you get the impression that Tim wasn’t very interested in doing a direct sequel to the first film?
          Oh, absolutely. He was not crazy about BATMAN (1989). And I wasn’t crazy about it either. It had great production design and all that, but I didn’t like the movie. One of my issues about the film made it into a line in BATMAN RETURNS – Bruce Wayne saying to Alfred ”And who let Vicki Vale into the Batcave?” I really didn’t like Robert Wuhl’s character, the reporter guy, so I had a scene in my script where I had him crucified to the Batsignal, with his dead body flashing all over the city. Tim made a big thing of saying ”Can we just pretend the first one doesn’t exist? Let’s just not even address it. ” He was always more interested in the characters than in the action or the spectacle, or even the plot. I remember asking him what we should call the movie and he said ”Do we have to give it a title? Everybody is going to know what it is when it comes out. ”

          Why was Tim dissatisfied with the Sam Hamm script?
          His script was fine, and better than his BATMAN script. It’s a meat and potatoes mystery, with clues, and statues of owls and so on. It read like a Hardy Boys story. It was a good yarn. That version would have needed an old time director from down in the commissary to direct it. It’s not the kind of story that will get you the way to Tim. When I came on board I said ”Who even needs this plot stuff? Let’s get Tim interested in this. ” Sam Hamm got story credit merely for the fact he had Catwoman and Penguin in his script. My script had completely different conceptions of the characters. When we were trying to come up with Penguin’s story, I came up with the idea that everybody was shredding their papers in the Wall Street offices, and he’s down in the sewer taping them all back together. I felt like I was The Huntsman and Tim was The Prince, and that I had to go out into the forest everyday and bring back something for The Prince. It felt less like a normal writing job and more like my job was simply to try and get Tim intrigued in what I was writing.


      • Speed (1994) : What if Kim Basinger played Sandra Bullock’s character:

        Kim and Sandra are polar opposite personalities.

        Sandra is very extroverted, and has that warm girl next door appeal. Plus her and Keanu Reeves have undeniable chemistry together.

        Kim is extremely introverted (her parents thought she was autistic), and even battled severe agoraphobia. Unfortunately that can translate on screen as being cold and standoffish.


        • I prefer how “Speed” turned out with Sandy Bullock (I like calling her Sandy); she brought an energy to the role. I don’t know, maybe Kim Basinger would’ve been alright, but then I think it would’ve been marketed differently, and a different film in ways.


    • I think a lot of this is rubbish. The character in Taxi Driver was a twelve year old girl. lists tons of actresses in their 20s who were supposedly “considered” to play Iris, I call BS. If anything she was in consideration for the Cybill Sherpherd role. But even that’s a stretch considering Kim hadn’t debuted yet, although she did live in NY at the time.

      Notstarring also lists Julie Andrews’ role in The Princess Diaries which HAS to be wrong. In case you haven’t seen the movie, she plays the grandmother of a teen. There’s no way Kim who was still doing oversexed mainstream leading lady roles at that time could be considered for or interested in playing such a part. Just one example of many infeasible claims the site has.

      In print, as opposed to user-edited sites which can make up anything, she’s been said to have turned down Sleeping with the Enemy (Sean Connery was going to play the control freak husband when Kim was attached; they were replaced by Patrick Bergin and Julia), Thelma & Louise (Geena Davis’s role), Basic Instinct and Sleepless in Seattle.

      If she really did turn down The Accused, it was decision to be applauded. That trash was nothing more than cheap sexploitation masquerading as sincere social commentary. JF’s Oscar win for that film is even more baffling than Kim’s win for L.A. Confidential

      When Blake Edwards directed Kim in The Man Who Loved Women, he declared in hindsight that he should have cast her instead of Bo Derek.


  2. See, this is so cool. The first “related” pick is the WTHH for Kim Basinger, which is perfect as this makes you want to get reacquainted with that article.

    For a couple of the missed opportunities, “Sleepless in Seattle” had a lot to do with the magic of the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks pairing. Frankly I think Meg would have lighted up the screen no matter who the male costar was. The sparkle she had was like glittering confetti on the well written scenes and bolstered the few points where it felt belabored. I don’t believe Kim would have infused the same brand of magic into the project. As you stated, so eloquently there is a difference in DNA. Engineered… I am speechless.
    “Speed” also seemed to be a hit based more on the way Sandra Bullock clicked with Keanu Reeves. I enjoyed it in the theatre but never was motivated to see it after that. Can’t for the life of me picture Kim Basinger in that role.


    • One of the reasons I started the WMHB series is that I think people overlook the impact of swapping out stars. The example I always think of is that people give Molly Ringwald a hard time for passing on Pretty Woman. But Julia Roberts made that movie. Which is not to say that she is a better actress than Ringwald. It was a combination of factors, right actress, right role, right time, right co-star. The stars aligned. If you swap her out for a former Brat Packer at the height of the Brat Pack backlash, odds are Pretty Woman bombs no matter how good of a job Ringwald does.

      If you cast Basinger in Sleepless in Seattle or Speed, the entire movie changes. At that point, Basinger had the clout to demand rewrites. If she thought the premise of Sleepless was ridiculous, you can bet she would have demanded changes. If she had appeared in Speed, you know her character would have gotten more screen time. Casting a big star changes the whole movie for better or worse. The only thing you can know for sure is that it would have been different. If the movie in question was a big hit, the odds are those differences will not be for the better.


  3. I remember when I first saw the title “Boxing Helena” and thought it was a female boxing film (along the lines of a film that was released 7 years later, which was “Girlfight”. I like that film). Oh, how wrong I was (although I like that the Tears for Fear song “Woman in Chains” was in the film) !


    • I am a big David Lynch fan. I also liked Basinger and Fenn. So I was really looking forward to Boxing Helena. But man, was it lousy! I would get sued to avoid being associated with that train wreck.


  4. Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda….it’s fascinating to review the careers of people who happen to have access to high profile roles. How does one know which role will be a success? How do you know which one is a failure? I suspect it is more luck than anything else for the average actor, but there are a handful who seem to truly understand the industry and be able to pick winning roles more often than not.

    People like Kim Bassinger are given an unfair advantage from their luck with the genetic draw. Beautiful looks opens doors that are locked to guys like me, and even you LeBeau. The genetics give them access, but from there on they still have to perform to meet that high genetic standard, or they are quickly reduced to eye candy. Kim Bassinger had every opportunity to get some great roles but she chose to go in a different direction. Did she do it on purpose, or was she unlucky, or was she not quite up to the task? I don’t know but I do enjoy her performances.

    Having said that, when was the last time you heard of someone buying a whole town? Lock stock and barrel. Maybe not so smart…. By the way, I have a bridge I can sell you, just in time for Christmas…I know..we’ll call it LeBeauville?😄

    Another good read LeBeau. Merry Christmas

    Brad Deal


    • Glad you liked it. And Merry Christmas to you and yours. We’re feeling so jolly here at Leblog, I’ve even given the site a temporary holiday make-over.

      “Lebeauville – A great place to visit. But your wouldn’t want to live there.” That’s our town motto. I’m running for mayor unopposed. But I’m worried Val Kilmer will beat me as a write-in candidate.

      I have very mixed feelings about indulging in career speculation. It’s fun, sure. But I’m much more comfortable discussing what (the hell) happened. It’s actual and often satisfactual. But what might have been is open to all kinds of interpretation. And I find a lot of people go wild with it. Plus there’s a lot of rumors about who actually turned down what. A lot of actors don’t even seem certain on what roles they may or may not have passed on. Often times, they make a decision based on an early draft of a script. Or their agent rejects something without even telling them. Movies change all the way up to their release date. So a project that looks good can sour along the way. And a bad script can find the right cast and crew and turn out to be a good movie. There’s just a ton of variables.

      Most of the movies Basinger passed on were movies that just about everyone passed on. Silence of the Lambs and The Accused made a lot of actresses nervous. I did find it funny that one of the reasons given for Basinger passing on Silence was that her post-Batman asking price was too high. Sometimes being a big star can cost you! There are movies I left off as well. Post Batman, just about every major role probably passed across Basinger’s desk at some point. She did have advantages poor schlubs like you and me will never know. But does she have a blog with a new Christmas header? I don’t think so!


      • Roles turned down by Kim Basinger:

        Was considered for the role of Jenny.
        Actor who got the part: Bo Derek

        The Accused
        Basinger turned down the role of Sarah Tobias in favour of Jodie Foster.
        Actor who got the part: Jodie Foster

        The Addams Family
        Was supposed to play Morticia Addams, but dropped out to do another film.
        Actor who got the part: Anjelica Huston

        American Beauty
        According to Wikipedia, Kim Basinger was considered for the role of Carolyn Burham.
        Actor who got the part: Annette Bening

        American Gigolo
        Was strong for the lead role before losing out to Lauren Hutton.
        Actor who got the part: Lauren Hutton

        Kim Basinger read the part of Linda Marolla, which went to Liza Minnelli.
        Actor who got the part: Liza Minnelli

        Baby Boom
        The character of JC was originally offered to her.
        Actor who got the part: Diane Keaton

        Basic Instinct
        Kim Basinger was offered the lead role.
        Actor who got the part: Sharon Stone

        Batman Returns
        According to Empire Magazine, Basinger was originally supposed to reprise her role as Vicki Vale in the sequel and was even included in early drafts but after major revisions she was written out.

        Boxing Helena
        Kim Basinger backed out of the lead role. Producers then sued her for $9 million and won for violating her contract. It was later reversed on appeal.
        Actor who got the part: Sherilyn Fenn

        Bull Durham
        Was considered for the female lead role.
        Actor who got the part: Susan Sarandon

        Was considered for the role of Mary Sunshine.
        Actor who got the part: Christine Baranski

        Was considered for the part of Princess Irulan by Ridley Scott.
        Actor who got the part: Virginia Madsen

        The Exorcist
        When she was working as a model, Kim Basinger auditioned for the role of Regan McNeill.
        Actor who got the part: Linda Blair

        Eyes Wide Shut
        Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin were supposedly considered to play the leads.
        Actor who got the part: Nicole Kidman

        Fatal Attraction
        Basinger was reportedly considered for the role of Alex Forrest.
        Actor who got the part: Glenn Close

        Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
        Was considered by John Hughes for the role of Jeannie, but she was filming “Nine 1/2 Weeks” at the time.
        Actor who got the part: Jennifer Grey

        Was considered for the role of Alex Owens, but producers declined to screen test her.
        Actor who got the part: Jennifer Beals

        The Flintstones
        Kim Basinger was considered for the role of Betty Rubble.
        Actor who got the part: Rosie O’Donnell

        Kim Basinger got so far as to film screentests with Sam Shepard, but ultimately lost out to Anjelica Huston.
        Actor who got the part: Anjelica Huston

        Turned down the role of Molly Jensen.
        Actor who got the part: Demi Moore

        Hannah and Her Sisters
        Basinger was considered for the role of Hannah but dropped out from the project due to prior commitments to “Nine 1/2 Weeks”.
        Actor who got the part: Mia Farrow

        Kansas City
        Kim Basinger was Robert Altman’s first choice to play the role of Carolyn Stilton. She turned it down to look after her newborn baby.
        Actor who got the part: Miranda Richardson

        King Kong
        Kim Basinger was one of many actresses attached for the lead role of Ann Darrow when the project was early in development.
        Actor who got the part: Naomi Watts

        Knocked Up
        Basinger was considered by Judd Apatow for the part of Alison’s mom.
        Actor who got the part: Joanna Kerns

        The Last Temptation of Christ
        Martin Scorsese offered the role of Mary Magdalene to Kim Basinger, who turned it down because she didn’t want to be typecast as a “femme fatale”.
        Actor who got the part: Barbara Hershey

        Love Field
        Kim Basinger was considered for the lead role but lost out when Michelle Pfeiffer also expressed interest.
        Actor who got the part: Michelle Pfeiffer

        After Meg Ryan pulled out, Kim Basinger auditioned for the lead role, but was turned down.
        Actor who got the part: Jodie Foster

        An Officer and a Gentleman
        Kim Basinger was the first choice for the role of Paula.
        Actor who got the part: Debra Winger

        The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
        Kim Basinger tested for the lead role.
        Actor who got the part: Jessica Lange

        Pretty Baby
        Was offered the role of Regan McNeil, but turned the role down.
        Actor who got the part: Linda Blair

        The Princess Diaries
        Kim Basinger narrowly missed out the role of Clarisse Renaldi to Julie Andrews.
        Actor who got the part: Julie Andrews

        Prizzi’s Honor
        Basinger reportedly turned down the role of Irene Walker.
        Actor who got the part: Kathleen Turner

        Risky Business
        Turned down the lead role because she didn’t like the script.
        Actor who got the part: Rebecca De Mornay

        The Shaggy Dog
        For almost a decade prior to production, Kim Basinger was considered at one point to star in a remake of “The Shaggy Dog”; however, she never got the chance to play the part.
        Actor who got the part: Kristin Davis

        Shakespeare in Love
        Was considered for the lead role, but producers later decided she was too old.
        Actor who got the part: Gwyneth Paltrow

        The Silence of The Lambs
        Was considered for the role of Clarice Starling, but Basinger proved too expensive after the success of “Batman”.
        Actor who got the part: Jodie Foster

        Sleeping with the Enemy
        Basinger was considered for the role of Laura.
        Actor who got the part: Julia Roberts

        Sleepless in Seattle
        Kim Basinger turned down the role of Annie.
        Actor who got the part: Meg Ryan

        Basinger turned down the female lead role.
        Actor who got the part: Sandra Bullock

        Basinger was offered the lead role.
        Actor who got the part: Patricia Pearcy

        Taxi Driver
        Auditioned for the role of Iris Steensma, but Martin Scorsese turned her down.
        Actor who got the part: Jodie Foster

        Terms of Endearment
        Basinger turned down the supporting role of Debra Winger’s best friend, and chose intead to do a larger role in “The Man Who Loved Women.”
        Actor who got the part: Lisa Hart Carroll

        Thelma & Louise
        Was considered for the role of Louise.
        Actor who got the part: Susan Sarandon

        An Unmarried Woman
        Kim Basinger was considered for the role of Erica.
        Actor who got the part: Jill Clayburgh


        • According to its dir., Kim Basinger was offered a part in this film, but her agent asked for too much money


        • 15 Rich Actors Who Lost Everything

          KIM BASINGER

          Kim Basinger had the misfortune of becoming a legal precedent when she backed out of a controversial movie called Boxing Helena.

          Boxing Helena is a movie about a surgeon who falls in love with a woman and amputates her limbs so that he can keep her captive in his house. Boxing Helena had a notoriously difficult production, with numerous actors walking out on the project.

          Basinger was contracted to play the leading role but backed out, as she wasn’t allowed to make revisions to the script. This led to a legal battle with the studio, which set a precedent for actors being liable for production cost losses when they back out of a production.

          Basinger was taken to court and sued for breach of contract. The court ordered her to pay $8.1 million in damages, which caused Basinger to declare bankruptcy. The amount was later lowered on appeal to $3.8 million, though the damage had already been done by then.


  5. “Lebeauville – A great place to visit. But you wouldn’t want to live there.” I have visited Lebeauville on many, many occasions and have had many wonderful times there, but the town motto is correct – neither I nor anyone else would ever want to live there! Matter of fact, despite having many terriffic shops and tourist spots I don’t think anybody lives there at all. Except the mayor. No wonder you’re running for mayor unopposed, Lebeau.

    If you ever do visit Lebeauville though, be sure to visit the What The Hell Happened Museum, it’s massive, three stories high and as large as the Pentagon. Each WTTH subject has their own wing covering their entire careers!


    • So I Googled “Lebeauville” just because curiosity got the better of me. There is a Lebeau Blvd in Ville Saint-Laurent in Quebec. So apparently Lebeauville is in Canada, eh.

      But that museum is getting bigger all the time. A new wing should be opening soon. And it is arguably the sexiest wing in the museum to date. Plus, some of the older wings have been getting major updates. Plus you can’t beat the admission price.


  6. I got lost on vacation last year. My wife nd I were going through Alabama and got lost on one their back roads. Finally after asking the locals for directions to Louieville, we wound up in LeBeauville….we pulled into town and it looked great! Everyone was happy, the birds were singing, and the sun was shining. But when we went into the one and only reastruant to get a bite to eat…we went through the door and there was nothing there…..just a grassy field. We turned back to the street and everything was there. People cars and things, but when we went into the Woolworth’s next door, again there was just a cow browsing the grass. WTH?

    We turned back and there in the street was Martin Scorese in his directors chair, Robert DeNiro, and Jack Nicolson all made up as cops and robbers…

    My wife says to me, “it looks like we’re on a movie set?” And just as she said that a guy with a clipboard and says, “you’re late…GET to wardrobe now!”

    So we go to wardrobe to get dressed and this guy brings in this script and says memorize this word for word because the screen writer is a perfectionist. The title was

    “What the Hell Happened…….. to LeBeau”

    ….an autobiography by LeBeau….

    We had to stay until the shoot was over, then Martin showed us the LeBeau museum, and Jack and Robert cooked us dinner. It was great.

    But the next day when the sun came up….everything was gone! Just the sign, “LeBeauville
    5 miles…


    Brad Deal


    • Brad Deal, It looks like you, sir….. took a trip to the LeBeau zone.

      See? This is why the town motto for Lebeauville is “A great place to visit. But you wouldn’t want to live there.” Who would want to live in a weird place where the only diner in town offers unlimited pancakes, but once you enter it’s just a grassy field? Enter the Woolworths for your allergy pills, and it’s… a cow grazing on another grassy field! No wonder LeBeau is running for mayor uncontested, I tells ya NO ONE WANTS TO LIVE THERE!

      But having said that, Lebeauville has an amazing What The Hell Happened museum. That’s like 90% of the the town’s tourism right there. I can’t wait for my next visit.


      • We’re like Fantasy Island. Daffy yells “da plane da plane!” whenever he sees you guys arriving. Every experience is different. Some people see a diner full of cows. Most people spend the day by the pool with early 90’s era Bridget Fonda and Phoebe Cates.


    • You ate Nicholson’s cooking? That explains a lot. You were probably tripping like you’ve never tripped before. Don’t eat anything Jack serves you. He’s supposed to stay out of the kitchen.

      I ask myself WTHH to Lebeau pretty much every day. Let me know if you figure that one out.


      • I still have a big plate of brownies left over that we all can share….and compare stories about LeBeauville


        • Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Kim Basinger wind up buying Lebeauville? Considering that “A great place to visit. But you wouldn’t want to live there” is actually the town motto of Lebeauville, it was probably an unwise investment on Basinger’s part.

          Lebeauville has a long, rich history……. count me in on those brownies and stories, Brad.


        • She tried. But we weren’t zoned properly for what she had in mind. We’re located in a “heavy snark” zone.


        • Was it in black and white or color? I’ve heard it changes depending on whether or not Reese Witherspoon is putting out.


        • Ah, that’s rich, richer than Jack’s brownies (yeah, I had some. I thought I was hanging out with Bridget Fonda, but it actually turned out to be Peter Fonda. Powerful stuff).


        • Oh mannnn, that’s so wrong!


    • I hope I’m not jumping the gun by saying that there are tentative plans for a full LEBEAULAND resort. Attractions include a roller coaster that acts out the highs and lows of the WTHH subjects and a dark ride featuring audio animatronic scenes from all of their worst movies, hosted by college-aged performers pretending to be Lebeau himself. All of their banter will be set in stone, with no variation allowed. A meet ‘n’ greet with a person dressed as Daffystardust will be available, but will mostly feature repeated explanations that I am not Lebeau.


      • lol

        I spend most of my time explaining that I’m not the guy who hates Keanu Reeves.

        We’ve actually had to scale down our budget for Lebeauland. The loans didn’t come through. Instead, guests get to Skype with me in my basement.


  7. They tried to incorporate a new town, “LeBaeuopolis” but it as denied for lack of enthusiasm. One mayor, one cow, and no brownies. The folks from LeBeauville raided the kitchen, drank all the booze, chased off all the women. When the sun came up everybody was gone except the mayor. And he looked like Val Kilmer


  8. Fortunately, the townspeople elected new government, headed by an almost magically gifted leader who figured out how to leverage the collective strengths and expand the small town into a prosperous yet eco-friendly, virtually Utopian habitat. After that, RB was off into the sunset, never looking back.


  9. I don’t want to sound like I’m trolling or trying to be funny, but I wonder how a movie inspired by Kim’s appearance in Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” video (where she plays the world’s most beautiful corpse) would’ve turned out? I could’ve seen it as a female variation of “Weekend at Bernie’s” w/ a Tim Burton-style (it’s kind of too bad that they never worked w/ each other again after “Batman”) twist. Stuff like that in a way, can’t make it too surprising that she was initially intrigued by something as off-the-wall as “Boxing Helena”.


      • Am I weird or even a horrible person for being extremely turned on by this video!? Maybe because it’s hard not to marvel or be in awe of Kim Basinger because she’s such a magnificently beautiful woman. It’s an especially breath taking event or experience when we get to the very first shot of “Mary Jane” (when the bag is unzipped). It’s simply a pulsating revelation, when she’s unraveled like a Christmas or birthday present. It’s easier to notice this when it’s just herself lying around still w/ the camera focused on her. Maybe it also has to do w/ the twisted premise of being able to “have your way” (I’m certain that Tom Petty in particular was astonished at what a creature of nature Kim Basinger was) so her dead or alive. I especially love the part at the very end, where we finally get to see Kim’s trademark blue eyes as she floats up and down in the water.


    • Wow, that’s a great tune (my favorite Tom Petty song is “Runnin’ Down A Dream” though). Interesting question: I figure if Kim Basinger can play a character who spends a bulk of a film trapped in an attic talking to a guy on a cell phone, maybe she can play a corpse for at least an hour and a half.


      • If Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” video somehow, was remade today, then I would first and foremost, want to see Taylor Swift as Mary Jane. I say this because Taylor I think, bares a close resemblance to Kim Basinger, to the point in which they could literally pass off as mother and daughter. Yes, Taylor has a much different body type than Kim’s (Taylor is tall and lanky while Kim is about 5’7 and voluptuous), but still the basic similarities are there. Hell, Taylor’s princess dress in her “Love Story” video is quite similar to the dress that Kim wears on her “romantic date” w/ Tom Petty.


      • Some other ideas/suggestions:
        *What if the movie “Innerspace” from Joe Dante was remade w/ a dead body!?

        *Imagine if there was a more dark, twisted variation of the film “A Christmas Story” (w/ Kim Basinger’s “The Natural” co-star, Darren McGavin as “The Old Man”), where instead of a Red Rider BB Gun, the protagonist (let’s just make Ralphie a morgue worker like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in the video) wishes for a beautiful woman, who just happens to be dead. In a perverse way, he can play w/ her like any other Christmas toy.

        *I wonder what Kim Basinger’s (Mary Jane) spirit in the afterlife thought of creepy Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers messing around w/ her body back on earth!?


        • To me, that scenario can play out two ways: either a high-concept (something like 1988’s “Dead Ringers”, at least in tone) or low budget (1985’s “Re-animator” or 1986’s “Deadly Friend” on a shoestring) horror film.


        • I kind of see “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” as a really macabre male fantasy (hence casting one of the world’s most beautiful women in Kim Basinger as “Mary Jane”) involving a grown man playing w/ a life-sized (once living) Barbie doll.



      Hèctor Hernández Vicens’ story of necrophilia is based somewhat on a true event that took place in Spain. Given the premise of the film, I was expecting more horror than the film actually delivers, but I was perfectly satisfied with a story that focuses on taking responsibility for one’s actions and, reminiscent of the Coen brothers, how quickly events can spiral out of control once an initial act of transgression has been committed.
      Vicens talked about the film after the screening and was eager to point out that he wasn’t really interested in shocking the audience with necrophilia so much as dealing with the consequences should a person be discovered breaking the taboo. He also expressed his interest in confining his stories to specific locations (here a hospital morgue) and from the point of view of the victim. Both of which he does with great skill in this film.

      THE CORPSE OF ANNA FRITZ is less shocking than its premise might suggest but it’s a well delivered morality tale that also has something to say about the modern obsession with celebrities.



    Basinger looks like a Milt Canniff or Howard Chaykin dame brought to life. She would have been great in an “American Flagg!” or “Blackhawk” film.


    reply 36



  11. Profile: Skinned alive by Hollywood: Kim Basinger, fading sex goddess and dollars 10m loser

    Here’s where Kim tripped up. She wasn’t ill-advised (she had some of the best agent-therapists in the business), but she had the kind of mulish small- town-girl in Tinseltown mind that couldn’t face doing bigger (better?) things than she’d done: not until she was sure she could do them and still be the big, blowsy sexpot. Thus she turned down leads in three films that, had she made them and made them well, would have enabled her to make that great leap from android to actress: Sleeping with the Enemy, Basic Instinct and Sleepless in Seattle. Instead we got The Marrying Man (with current husband Alec Baldwin, who made his name in The Hunt for Red October), Too Hot to Handle and other flops.


  12. Kim Basinger: No Regrets

    Q: You don’t think about turning down films like Sleepless in Seattle or Basic Instinct!

    A: When I read Basic Instinct, it was just something I was not interested in doing at the time. I just didn’t care about doing a highly explicit sexual piece which I thought it would end up being, and it did. Sleepless in Seattle, that was really early on. Nora Ephron was not even attached to it. It wasn’t like Meg Ryan was hired the next morning–this movie went through some real changes. The Sleepless in Seattle that people saw, I never knew anything about it! There was a whole other Sleepless in Seattle happening! [Laughs]


  13. Debra Winger is back!!

    James L Brooks wanted Kim Basinger to play Patsy Carpenter, Debra’s best friend in Terms. That would have been fantastic: I don’t know why it didn’t pan out. They cast a really nondescript actress in the part and if you actually watch the film, Patsy not only functions as the token friend but is supposed to be a captivating presence in her own right, who often functions as Emma’s voice of reason. Patsy keeps Flap in line and defying expectations, doesn’t have an affair with him: in fact, Patsy had more of a romantic affinity with Debra’s character Emma and Basinger in the role would only have amplified the beauty of that relationship. The Patsy character was the protagonist of her own novel, called Moving On. If only Basinger had taken the part, she could have then done Moving On as her own star vehicle. I can’t watch the movie now without thinking it was a missed opportunity. Basinger became a huge star anyway without having to do this film. I feel that if she had done Terms, the film would have concentrated more on Emma’s world and that awful Shirley MacLaine would have been relegated to a supporting character and Debra would have won the Oscar (with Basinger nominated for Supporting and MacLaine getting shut out altogether: that’s how it should have gone down).


    reply 107 17 hours ago


  14. Single biggest mistake that Kim Basinger made during her career?

    *Buying the town of Braselton, Georgia

    *Her alleged on-set diva antics on The Marrying Man as well as helping ruining Ralph Bakshi’s Cool World buy suggesting that it be more of a “kids movie”

    *Hooking up w/ Alec Baldwin

    *The Boxing Helena mess

    *Going on a three year hiatus from movies soon after winning her Oscar

    *Any one of her starring vehicles that didn’t connect w/ audiences/critics (i.e. The Marrying Man, Cool World, Final Analysis, The Real McCoy, The Getaway, I Dreamed of Africa, and Bless the Child)

    *Turning down roles that turned out to be huge hits like Speed (she was offered Sandra Bullock’s role)


    • Why or how did Kim ruin her career?

      After Batman, Kim Basigner was one of the hottest actresses (well, looks and buzz wise) in Hollywood.

      So what does she do to follow that up she literally buys a town in Georgia, misbehaves on the set of The Marrying Man (all the while, hooking up w/ a narcissistic, controlling, rage-a-holic in Alec Baldwin) w/ her crude (i.e. flashing the crew members while not wearing underwear) and diva-type antics, she has Cool World changed from an R-rated horror movie (for which Ralph Bakshi) to a PG-13 Roger Rabbit rip-off so that she could have something to show to sick kids that she visited in hospitals, and the whole Boxing Helena debacle, which pushed her into bankruptcy.

      Kim eventually makes a “comeback” (after spending the first half of the ’90s as a laughingstock and being painted as being “difficult”) by winning an Oscar for LA Confidential. So what does she do next, she proceeds to kill her momentum and heat by not releasing another movie for three years. And when she does release something, it’s in crap that nobody likes or were interested in seeing like Bless the Child and I Dreamed of Africa.

      After those turkey’s Curtis Hanson, her LA Confidential director, “threw Kim a bone” by casting her as Eminem’s white trash (but still smoking hot) mom in 8 Mile. She follows that up taking a rather demeaning role in which she spends most of the time playing a scared housewife, locked up in a basement and hoping for Captain America to save her. This followed by a bunch of little seen indie movies or major movies that threat her attachment (at least promotional wise) as a virtual afterthought.

      And of course, after she and Alec Baldwin finally broke up, Kim went out of her way to sacrifice her daughter’s integrity and name in order to “get revenge” against her beep of an ex-husband. Now a days, Kim seems to have an image of being a reclusive, insecure “hot for an old lady”, who pals around w/ those PETA nuts.


      • Somebody on another message board that I frequent has been adamant in their belief that Kim Basinger isn’t at all remotely responsible for “throwing her career” away. According to them, you can ruin your own career through substance abuse but others, like Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise, did it by actions and words. This person added that there is a difference between an actor personally throwing their career away and just getting old, or Hollywood moving on to the next big thing. :

        Somebody else previously said that they don’t think Kim Basinger really counts as self destructive either. If anything I think she was pretty successful. In a nutshell, Basinger started out as a model that got roles in Hollywood primarily for her looks. And then, in the late nineties she reinvented herself as a serious credible actress.

        And since Kim Basinger was in “The Nice Guys” and “Fifty Shades Darker”, here career isn’t doing to badly for a 60 something woman in Hollywood. According to them, there are a lot of actresses of her generation who aren’t even working anymore.

        So perhaps her agoraphobia came back or all the roles she was offered where garbage which something that does happen. A number of actors have had successful roles in big movies and then are only offered similar roles in subpar versions of the movie that was just a success for them.


    • Boxing Helena (1993)

      I watched this movie all the time on Showtime in the late 90s because I was a horny teenager and Sherilyn Fenn is gorgeous. But it is terrible and probably responsible for any weird sex issues I have. (Well, partly responsible. Pretty sure seeing Labyrinth as children screwed up my whole generation). But the thing is that while it is BAD (Bill Paxon plays the bad boy biker…yes…I know!) it is also really interesting. The type of movie that David Lynch or Cronenberg would hit out of the park.

      The Basinger lawsuit is interesting since ultimately she actually won the case on appeal since the trial court did not give proper jury instructions. I could explain the case if anyone actually cares but it gets into corporate law and trial court procedure. Basically, the trial court asked “did Kim Basinger and/or the corporation that represents her breach the contract”. The jury said yes but because we can’t tell if they meant to say it was Kim, OR her company, OR both that the trial needed to happen again to find out which party was at fault. From as far as I can tell they never retried the case so Basinger didn’t need to pay that huge judgement, but she did have a crap ton of lawyers fees from appealing the case.

      This is why there probably isn’t a HDTGM for lawsuits. They sound like they’d be interesting (Oh, famous Hollywood star and a weird soft core porn movie) but in the end it is all about duel entity theories of business law.


  15. Kim Basinger Opens Up About ‘Nasty’ Divorce From Alec Baldwin

    Baldwin and Basinger met in 1990 on the set of the movie “The Marrying Man” and wed three years later. In the Net-A-Porter interview, Basinger joked about their fateful meeting.

    “I did this film, ‘The Marrying Man,’ where I met my eventual [ex] husband, Alec Baldwin, but I was teeter-tottering because I had also been offered ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ [a role which eventually went to Julia Roberts],” she said. “Isn’t it funny that I turned down ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ and then I went on to sleep with the enemy!”


  16. Re: What the Hell Happened to Kim Basinger?

    In addition to the other responses here, in 1993 she was scheduled to play the lead female role in Boxing Helena. She dropped out midway through and broke her contract. The move made her look unreliable and she got a bad name in the industry. Filmmakers sued for 8.1 million and won. She went into bankruptcy and settled for 3.8 million.

    I think the unreliability factor along with the fact that she was typecast as a sex bomb and aging, led to a lack of roles. She had a small comeback in 1997 in a lead role, but otherwise, she’s been relegated to being the mom, as in the movie 8 Mile. It’s at least good to see she’s still working, though.


  17. According to the Feb. ’83 article Playboy did on her, Kim was offered TWO James Bond movies – including Moonraker – before she agreed to do Never Say Never Again.

    The same article mentions that her first-ever audition was for King Kong, that she screen-tested for another remake of a classic film, The Postman Always Rings Twice, turned down a regular role on Charlie’s Angels and wanted to star in a Jean Seberg biopic.

    Much of the stuff on is bullshit. You have to look far back to discover the facts. Website information is not reliable.


    • I think that cartoon on the page is pretty funny.


      • Speaking of Kim Basinger and cartoons, Doug Walker AKA the Nostalgia Critic will be taking on the notorious “Cool World” as his next review. Kim according to the director, Ralph Bakshi, hijacked it so that she could have something that she could show sick children in hospitals. To make a long story short, Bakshi intended “Cool World” to be a very adult, R-rated erotic horror flick. He also wanted Drew Barrymore to play Kim’s character.


        • To me, “Cool World” screams like a film that was tampered with on some kind of level, since the mood and tone are totally off (Gabriel Byrne gets to be in another awkward production a few years later, 1996’s “Mad Dog Time”, but at least that film knew what it wanted to be), so I’m open to explanations on what went wrong with that picture.


        • This is what Kim said regarding “what exactly went wrong” with “Cool World”:

          Q: What interested you in doing the animated film Cool World?

          A: That was such a sad experience. Frank Mancuso Jr. showed me what they planned to do with this film and I looked at my agent and said, “I want to do this film.” I really loved the idea. It could have been ahead of its time. I thought we were making something special. What I heard happened is, when the studio saw it there was some deception between the director and the producer and somewhere along the way the animation got screwed up. When the studio saw it they didn’t understand it and they cut an hour out of it. They lost the story, so it turned into a mess. I’ve never seen it.


        • I don’t know how ahead of it’s time “Cool World” could’ve been (I still feel that “Who’s Framed Roger Rabbit?” was pretty edgy, with its murderous plot, sexual suggestions, and a creepy villain named Doom, who, other than the real-life Judge they called “Maximum John” that Woody Harrelson’s father apparently murdered, I can’t think of a more serious-sounding Judge), but I thought it could build on the success of that film. On paper, I bet it sounded great too, but it just wan’t a Cool World at all.


      • I initially thought that it was a “recreation” of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin shooting their sex scenes from “The Getaway”, but then I realized that it was from 1983 (Basinger and Baldwin wouldn’t hook up for at least another seven years).


    • Regarding “Charlie’s Angels”, Kim herself claimed in that 1991 Movieline article that was posted on this blog, that she was offered presumably what would become Cheryl Ladd’s role. But according to Kim (guest starred in the “Angels in Chains” episode from Season 1), she turned it down because she wasn’t interested in doing weekly episodic television. In her words, she wanted to sing and make movies.

      Now of course, in 1977 (about a year after “Charlie’s Angels” debuted), Kim Basinger starred in what would become a short-lived cop show called “Dog & Cat”. So in that regard, Ms. Basinger wasn’t being entirely truthful with her reluctance to do television even during the earliest stages of her career.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that Kim and her ego were uncomfortable w/ the concept of more than likely having to play the third wheel to Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith and not the proverbial “star” on “Dog & Cat”.


      • I think your conclusion is correct. (Notice she’s rarely ever had female co-stars appearing on screen with her at the same time.) That and the fact that the show was dumb.

        Kudos to the fan who launched that site. Interesting tidbit from the ’89 Vanity Fair article: Kim and Bruce Willis were going to be the “hot couple” co-presenters at the Oscars, then Demi Moore got two days off from a movie (We’re No Angels) and wanted to go with him, naturally. Kim wouldn’t go to the ceremony UNLESS she could present with Willis so she just didn’t go at all.


        • I can’t believe that Kim can be that petty (again, it’s seems like Kim was worried about another female star “stealing her shine”) and anal! It just makes Kim out to be a spoiled brat, who “takes her ball and goes home” when things don’t entirely work out for her as she imagined or planned. Demi Moore was Bruce Willis’ wife in real life so naturally, it would’ve been more logical for them to present together as the “hot couple”. Plus, “Blind Date”, was already kind of eons ago. Did Kim think that he and Bruce were involved or should’ve been involved with one another in real life too and thus she became jealous of Demi Moore!?


        • “Demi Moore’s flying in from her set cost the Oscar show Kim Basinger, who would appear only with Willis … Kim Basinger understands basic chemistry, on-screen and off, and she has it with Willis. So no Willis, no show.”


        • The part of that Vanity Fair article that really struck me is how Kim seemed to want have her cake and eat it too. What I’m pointing to how she at same time, wanted to be a movie star while still maintaining her anonymity. For one thing, if you’re so worried about people recognizing you and talking about you, then “Batman” is the last movie that you should be participating in.

          Also, if Kim didn’t want people to know who she is/was, then she shouldn’t have proceeded to throw her proverbial weight around whenever she saw fit like purchasing that town in Georgia, her outburst over the Academy not properly acknowledging “Do the Right Thing” at the 1990 Oscars, her obnoxious behavior on the set of “The Marrying Man”, hijacking “Cool World” from Ralph Bakshi, or backing out of “Boxing Helena” at the last minute.

          And I also find if funny that Kim prides herself on being a private person yet she had little qualms showcasing her marriage to Alec Baldwin during their “better days” (i.e. them co-hosting “SNL”, guest starring together on “The Simpsons” besides making “The Getaway” after they got married) or her running her mouth a such a matter of fact manner in interviews (it seemed like Kim always had to talk about sex in some shape or form along the way) while she was up and coming. Kim allegedly releasing those voice mails of Alec being angry at their daughter was just the tip of the iceberg.


        • There’s a price to be paid for everything, and if one isn’t willing to handle the cost, then they should move on to something else. Hollywood & privacy don’t make good bedfellows anyways.


        • I just don’t think that Kim really wants or has any urgency of being a “movie star” anymore. I guess, you might as well consider her to be “semi-retired”. Kim seems more interested in “saving” animals and trying to watch her daughter than getting her face out in the open. Whenever Kim shows up to a public event like a premiere it’s like seeing the locust. Had Kim been more dedicated to her work as an actress, then for example, she wouldn’t have immediately gone on another three year hiatus after winning the Oscar for “LA Confidential”, which presumably resurrected her career for the time being.

          I’m guessing that Kim was in part mentally broken from the way that Alec Baldwin allegedly treated her during their marriage (as well as the residing burn out from her nasty “Boxing Helena” trial). This was naturally, coupled w/ her anxiety issues, which of course complicates the necessity of having to go out and promote your work. I suppose Kim just said to herself, “I’m not getting any younger and I already have my Oscar, so f-it!”. It’s probably in part why, Kim doesn’t seem to have too many qualms w/ showing up in crap like “Fifty Shades Darker” (even though, Kim claims that her daughter convinced her to do it).

          Granted, I wouldn’t doubt that Kim Basinger in part doesn’t work as much as she used do because perception (as a blind item on Crazy Days and Nights this past June alluded to) that she’s too demanding/difficult to work with (e.g. having directors of photography fired for not shooting her to her pleasing and clashing w/ screenwriters over not giving her enough dialogue) and therefore, it’s not worth the hassle to hire her.


  18. I absolutely don’t know how valid this is so please take this with a huge grain of salt:

    Well according to the “The Real Reason Why Hollywood Won’t Hire Alec Baldwin Anymore” article I read, it all goes back to Kim Basinger getting her revenge after Alec wouldn’t let her be in Batman Returns.


  19. Robert Altman’s 1994 film ‘Ready To Wear’…

    I avoid anything with Julia Roberts like the plague. But Kim Basinger is a magnificent movie actress, really she should have done Four Weddings and a Funeral instead of Andie McScowel.


    reply 5 02/17/2016


    • I don’t think “Ready to Wear” was ready for the big show, but I thought Basinger was okay in it. I don’t believe it was one of Robert Altman’s better films, so naturally it ran on premium cable in the early 2000’s like gangbusters.


    • Why haven’t Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta books been made into movies?

      This is years ago, but my recollection is Cornwell was obsessed with Jodie Foster playing Scarpetta. It’s rumored Cornwell even had plastic surgery to more resemble Jodie, who turned down the part repeatedly. I think Sharon Stone and Kim Basinger were also offered the part, and turned it down. It’s too grim for a female movie star to play a coroner who does autopsies.

      However, the t.v. show “The Closer” and other similar properties owe a lot to Cornwell’s books.


      reply 1 11/02/2008


  20. Sharon Stone Shares Her ‘Basic Instinct’ Audition On Twitter

    Kim Basinger (back in 2004) at the 1:50 mark in this video doesn’t regret turning down “Basic Instinct”.



      Justpassingthrough2, Town and Country, United States, about an hour ago
      This was one of the first examples of the internet being used to protest a film and spoil its ending. I think the A-List actresses passed on the role because it was much too controversial and they were too established to take on such a role. It was perfect for an unestablished actress to make her mark and Stone did exactly that.


      • ATypicalGirl, AStateOfBeing, United States Minor Outlying Islands, 2 hours ago
        Well, the other women listed here, who they supposedly offered the role to, are too all American sweetheart to play the role believably. I particularly cannot imagine ah-shucks Meg Ryan in that role at all. Basinger played a killer in Final Analysis with Richard Gere in the same year, wasn’t very good & probably didn’t want to do more of the same. What is interesting though, is Michael Douglas was in his career prime at the time, so I wonder why so many actresses turned down the chance to work with him, when most of his films are hits? There must be more to their bypassing the role.

        NoSheeple, Shangri-La, Andorra, 1 hour ago
        They didn’t want to do full on frontal nudity which was considered a career killer. A relatively unknown actress had nothing to lose. Verhoeven has made some very erotic Dutch films that go even further. He’s very kinky.



      Basinger has tried to maneuver within the narrow confines of her sexpot image by parodying her heartstopper reputation. Like Kathleen Turner, she enjoys lampooning the hypnotic power of her own sexuality, although her Holli Would in the nightmarish Cool World is the diabolic double of Turner’s “good blond” in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Basinger’s attempts at self-parody spoof rather than reinvent the Blond Bombshell: Honey Horne incarnates adolescent sex fantasies in Wayne’s World 2, itself a spoof on the icons of media culture; and her Celeste in My Stepmother Is an Alien is a woman so good-looking that sex with her is treated as a cosmic event. Still in that film and in more earthbound, but equally frenetic vehicles, such as the witless Blind Date, Basinger displays a goofiness and slapstick limberness deserving of better stunts. It remains to be seen whether Basinger can modernize her screen persona, which while glamorous, lacks the independence, drive, and determination that characterize the screen’s most “modern” women from Bette Davis to Sharon Stone. Final Analysis suggests she might, with the right vehicle, shed the mannerisms that have kept her in relative subjection to men. In this unapologetic remake of Vertigo, Basinger brings a murderous resolve to her role as Heather Evans, a more sinister and cunning descendent of Kim Novak’s compliant, zombified Madeleine. When she falls to her death from atop a lighthouse tower, it is after having rejected the new age masculinity offered to her by her hapless lover and dupe, Richard Gere. The man on the tower remains standing, in command of the scene, but the phallic structure supporting him is much in need of repairs.


  21. Had a hypothetical live-action Barbie movie been made during Kim Basinger’s “prime”, I could see her play Barbie:


  22. It’s also been said Kim Basinger was supposed to be the love interest in Graffiti Bridge, but after their fling ended she was like nAH.


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