BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!

M A I L B A G

Mailbag 6
DATE: 9/27/05
Author:
Jett

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DISCLAIMER: Unless otherwise stated, answers to questions asked are based on the opinions of the editor and should be considered as such.

1. “Hey Jett, been a HUGE fan of your site since '98, and a Bat-fan all my life! How about Edward Furlong as The Joker and Jude Law as Harvey Dent?” - Jerad, Lodi, CA

JETT SAYS: Furlong? No. Law as Dent? Hell yes. I’ve long thought of Jude in that role and think he would be great. I know he gets some run as The Joker, but I think he would be fantastic as Dent/Two-Face. He’s someone we could really like as Harvey, but make us hate him as Two-Face (see. THE ROAD TO PERDITION.

2. “What do you think about Mark Hamill playing The Joker in [the sequel]? And let’s get Warner Bros. to dedicate SUPERMAN RETURNS to Christopher Reeve.” - Dan Castro, Helena, Montana.

JETT SAYS: Hamill? Nope. Too old. Just because he was excellent providing the voice of The Joker in the animated series, doesn’t mean he’s suited for the live-action version of the role. Ain’t going happen - never was.

And yes, SUPERMAN RETURNS should be dedicated to Mr. Reeve. Are you hearing us Warner Bros.? I think it’s going to happen.

3. “Michael Wincott as The Joker. And go Steelers.” - John S.

JETT SAYS: I don’t know much about Wincott, so I really don’t have an opinion regarding him. I think he may be a tad too old for the role in his late 40s. I’d like to see someone around 30 - give or take - cast. But your suggestion is out there for all to read.

4. “I especially think that Dick Grayson was an important introduction in the Batman story, without him what was to stop Bruce Wayne from disappearing inside his own creation. Dick Grayson gave Bruce a chance to experience life with a family, he had someone to look out for and mentor. Grayson has saved Wayne many times in the comics and (to a much, much lesser extent) in film. I think Robin's been given a bad wrap because of corny puns and the overtly homosexual undertones that were portrayed in Schumacher’s films. I think the Robin character could be as dark and brooding as the Batman if he was written properly.” - Scout, Australia

JETT SAYS: I love the passion that many of you have for including Robin at some point in this series. I still would prefer that Batman stays solo. If he is going to be included, I just hope it is done correctly and in a realistic manner.

5. “Love the site, man.... I'm a huge Batman fan and have been following your site for somewhere around 2 years now. Keep up the good work!

My question is about BATMAN RETURNS. I'm with you in that I really do not like that movie at all - it's a Tim Burton movie that happens to be about Batman. But I want to know what your take on Penguin's black ooze coming from his mouth when he dies? What in the world is that supposed to be? Blood? Mucus? And why did he have to bite that dude's nose earlier in the film? I just really hate some of this stuff because the film had a chance to be pretty good if Batman's character had been more developed and the Penguin had been less disgusting. Go Bucs!” - Patrick from Terre Haute, IN

JETT SAYS: You’re not a Colts fan up there in Indianapolis? Anyway, I have no idea what that black crap is coming out of “The Penguin’s” mouth. Mucus, goo, whatever. Geez I despise that film - no offense intended to those who love it. My friend and BOF'er Greg Bray is a huge fan of BATMAN RETURNS and he has an explanation for the "goo:"

"In Old English writing, it was believed that the body was made up of the four main fluids, or 'humors.' It was believed that, for instance, red blood was a humor that represented the blood of Christ. So, if a red rose was introduced into a Chaucer story, for instance, it was not to represent passion (in the romance sense) or sexuality, it was there as a 'semiotic' symbol of Christ's purity and love.

Black bile, on the other hand, was representative of pure evil. When this black goo was introduced into the character design, this could have been a heavy consideration, as a great deal of Gothic literature revisited these themes and ideas during Victorian times - a time period that greatly influenced the design of Batman Returns (as well as German Expressionism, of course). The Victorian influence is evident in the costume design of many of the Christmas carolers, and in the Penguin's coat and hat.

While this might sound like 'stretching,' remember that Burton, above all else, uses visuals to express a story's meaning, as opposed to dialogue and wrote exposition. I doubt that the black bile element is at all arbitrary."

Thanks Greg.

6. “How would you want the Joker to look, I love your idea about the black suit with purple accents, but do you want a realistic looking joker, a bleached white, neon green hair joker, a permanent smile joker, a self mutilating joker, what is your ideal Joker? And Go Cowboys!” - The Bishop

JETT SAYS: I did an entire SCATTERSHOTS ARTICLE on The Joker. I want his white face to be permanent, not make-up. I’d like for the green hair to be a result of whatever made his face white. I don’t think he has have a permanent smile or big red lips for that matter. I thought that the smile thing on Nicholson looked sort of goofy - and why didn’t that gunshot blow all his teeth out? And stay away from the purple suit - that’s been done already.

7. “I have been a long time Batman Fan. You by far have one of the best websites on the net. Any thoughts on the possibility of bringing maybe a Clayface, Man-Bat, or Killer Croc to the big Screen. We have already seen versions of Freeze, Two-Face and even the Joker. I would enjoy seeing the Joker and a Harvey Dent, but with all the new technology out there, it would be interesting to see these villains come to life in the silver screen. And what’s the deal with the SUPERMAN RETURNS budget?” - Eric, Los Angeles, CA

JETT SAYS: Eric, I can’t see Clayface or Man-Bat done in a realistic manner. Personally, I just don’t think they could work. I don’t want a fantastical Batman on screen. Keep him grounded in reality. I do think Killer Croc could work. Perhaps he suffers from some sort of weird skin condition or something.

As far as SUPERMAN RETURNS, it better do well at the box office to cover the cost of making it. Man that’s a lot of money!

8. “Hey Jett, a quick thanks for the website. It's really awesome, your passion is contagious. I wanted to ask you about the Microwave-Emitter used in the first film to "wipe out the enemies water supply" or evaporate water in the vicinity. I thought it was great how they tied it into the toxin being distributed... But how do you rationally... or even artistically explain how it didn't kill everybody?” - Kevin H., Chicago, IL

JETT SAYS: Hey, it is a movie - you gotta suspend belief for some things. I think it was “targeted” at water supplies, not water in one’s body. You could direct it to water and evaporate it - at least that’s how I took it. Didn’t bother me at all.

9. “Was curious as to what you thought a good title for the ‘Untitled Batman Begins Sequel’ should be. Frankly, I think that following the trend set by ‘Batman Returns’ is not a smart move - ‘Batman Forever’ made absolutely no sense as a title following the hack-job that was supposedly done in the editing room.” - Alex B.

JETT SAYS: “Batman Forever” would have made plenty of sense if - as you said - it didn’t receive the hack job when edited. He realized that he was meant to be Batman, forever. But I digress.

What would I title the sequel? How about “The Jettman?” Just kidding, but I would go that way and call it THE BATMAN. With that said, I do like the “Batman _____” titles of the films.

10. “I thought Willem Dafoe was perfectly cast as Green Goblin in SPIDER-MAN, but was disappointed with the way they handled the character (ie, they shouldn't have given him a metal costume where you could barely see his facial expressions). To rectify this, I was thinking of him as The Joker. He's tall, thin, lanky and can be downright scary and crazy. What do you think?” - David G., Boston, MA

JETT SAYS: I think Dafoe would be perfect - ten years ago. I believe he was considered back before Nicholson was cast in ‘88.

11. “Thank you Jett for keeping our Batman anticipation alive.” - Lane

JETT SAYS: You are welcome. I’m as fired up for the next film as anyone. Can’t wait!

12. “BATMAN BEGINS is woefully overrated.” - Rory

JETT SAYS: Rory, I couldn’t disagree more. In your email, you mentioned that Batman as a detective was not shown. Didn’t you see him in disguise, taking notes, doing surveillance, etc.? Who took those pics of Judge Faden to use as “leverage?” Who is the one who figured out how to nail Falcone?

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: BATMAN BEGINS is a tremendous film and by far the best live-action depiction of The Batman. It is a great Batman film.

13. “Here's hoping that [Nolan and Goyer] hold the line and don't cave to perceived fan pressure to make the series bigger, lamer, more crowded and/or more like the TV show with each new installment. They have a crack here at making a tough, classy, and classic film series. I trust they won't f*** it up by adding Robin, or Batgirl, or sillier villains like the Penguin.” - Joseph F.

JETT SAYS: I don’t think that we have anything to worry about this time. As far as The Penguin, I’d love to see him in the sequel as I’ve spelled out previously.

14. “Hey Jett, long time reader, been with you since through all the proposed Bat-films. A lot has been said about the marketing of BEGINS, and how it has done well due to the lack of marketing. Considering the popularity of the character, wouldn't it have done better with a little more publicity and advertising?” - Lee H.

JETT SAYS: No. It wasn’t a “lack of marketing,” it was “low-key” and let the product sell itself” marketing. I have no idea why people think the film would have done tremendously better if it had been marketed differently. Thanks for being a longtime BOF‘er Lee.

15. “How much of the mob element do you think should be present in the sequel? One of my favourite aspects of ‘The Long Halloween/Dark Victory’ is the transition from the mob to the freaks controlling Gotham.” - Jeremy P., Sydney, Australia

JETT SAYS: I love that idea actually.

16. “Longtime reader. Glad your still covering the sequel. Do you expect that they will modify the outfit or the Batmobile?” - John, Houston, TX

JETT SAYS: Maybe a little bit, but I hope they don’t change much at all actually. Tweak a few things here and there, but no drastic changes. That’s one of the faults of the previous series.

17. “As you have previously mentioned, the idea of Batman taking down a minor villain at the beginning of the film (ala ‘007‘) is a good idea. And it will fit Scarecrow into the movie without any major focus on him during the main plot with The Joker. Plot-wise, we can start the movie with Rachel being kidnapped by Crane, who is armed with a new weapon based on his gimmick, I will leave the responsibility of what it should be to Goyer and Nolan. This can unfold into a 15 to 20 minute scene where Goyer and Nolan make their magic without crapping on the franchise.” - Johnny O., Cranston, R.I.

JETT SAYS: That could work. I’d love to see Cillian Murphy return as The Scarecrow and that “Bond” scenario may just work.

18. “Ashton Kutcher as the Joker. Pretty weird, huh?” - Name withheld

JETT SAYS: Yes it is. And no to Ashton.

19. “Concerning the deleted ‘Stage 2’ hallucination scenes (as well as other scenes known to exist but aren't on the upcoming DVD), I wonder if Warner Bros. might be planning to release some sort of ‘Unrated’ version in the future perhaps in a few years to coincide with the sequel? Wouldn't surprise me as other studios are getting in on the double-dipping game. Anyways, keep up the great work!” - Brian, Oregon

JETT SAYS: I wouldn’t be surprised at all and that is a great idea. Hear that WB?

20. “Jett, this site has been a Godsend. Regarding Batman’s cowl having lenses. I am sure Burton through Nolan have resisted the idea because it removes the actor’s ability to communicate through the eyes, but I think the menacing look would far outweigh the disadvantages and be truer to the comic.” - McCully

JETT SAYS: Honestly, I’m no fan of the white eyes” thing. I read somewhere that they tried it back in ‘88 when prepping for the first film, and Batman ended up looking like Lil’ Orphan Annie. Now, what I did like was how the lenses look on Ben Affleck in DAREDEVIL. What about black lenses that can be retracted?

21. “Crispin Glover is the Joker, hands down.” - David D.

JETT SAYS: Meh. But that’s must me and my opinion - which means nothing. He wants the role, I know that from what I’ve heard.

22. “Hey, Jett. Let's say for some reason WB didn't cast Christian Bale as Batman. Who do you think they would have picked in that case? My personal favorite is Billy Crudup.” - Jeremy

JETT SAYS: I guess myself. If I’m going to direct, I might as well star in it as well.

23. “Jett, Long time, first time, loyal reader. I would like to see Robin in the manner you presented him. It would be a great father/son ‘do as I say not as I do’ sort of thing. I think that should be explored down the road after this 1st trilogy. As Batman ages he becomes darker. He relies on his power and strength more than his detective skills. He uses brute force and scares the hell out of Gotham. Robin would bring him back toward the light. He would have to set an example for Master Grayson as Alfred would put it. I know they have made mention of this in previous comics. Joaquin Phoenix as Two-Face!? Inspired choice.” - KB

JETT SAYS: Another vote cast for including Robin. Thanks for reading and writing in!

24. “I'm a big fan of Michael Caine, I was delighted when I heard he was cast as Alfred, but isn't he a bit too old?” - Omar, London, UK

JETT SAYS: When I met Caine in June at the press junket, he looked really good. He looks much younger than he is.

25. “Hi Jett, just wondering if you can shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the script leak. How could this happen? I thought those things were locked away in vaults or something. What’s the chance of this happening with the sequel script?” - David

JETT SAYS: I have no idea. Someone got hold of it and let it loose on the Net. As I’ve said previously, I’m not totally unconvinced that this was not a “planned leak.” It certainly brought A LOT of positive publicity towards the project. I would bet that we will not see the sequel script “leaked.”

26. “Just thought I'd drop a line to the mailbag with my only complaint of the new movie. Towards the end when Bruce, Alfred and Rachel are picking their way through the ruins of Wayne Manor...I just wondered how many of our American friends spotted the blatantly obvious British countryside behind them! It stuck out like a sore thumb. Is this one of those times where the audience has to suspend their disbelief? Keep 'em flying, Jett, Batman On Film is still the Jewel in the crown!” - Spideytracer

JETT SAYS: You know, I don’t think many Americans really thought about it. I did, only because I knew that was filmed in the UK. But it certainly didn’t bother me. I’d rather it done like that in Britain, rather than on a soundstage. Thanks for the compliment!

27. “Jett, you already responded to one of my emails so feel free to ignore this one if you wish. I was just wondering if you could explain further what you meant when you said you saw what Nolan was trying to do with the fight scenes.” - Bill, Victoria, British Columbia

JETT SAYS: In my opinion, Nolan wanted the audience to view an attack by The Batman from the POV of the “badguys.”

28. “I high five you for coming up with this subplot love triangle idea for Bruce, Rachel, and Harvey. Sometimes I forget how much pressure Nolan and co..to come up with stellar ideas for the sequels but I have faith in them. My only question is since my older brother is a Marine so I’m quite familiar with the military, the CIA and so on having fraternization rules. Isn’t it also forbidden for D.A.Harvey Dent having an office romance with his Assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes?” - Bree, Carson City, NV

JETT SAYS: Bree, I don’t know. Maybe they are hiding their relationship. Maybe it’s a deal with Harvey digging her, but she still digs Bruce, causing all sorts of friction. Thanks for writing.

29. “Hey Jett, Big reader of BATMAN ON FILM and also a graduated film student - screenwriter. I first want to call out BATMAN BEGINS for being not only the best comic adaptation screenplay but also one of the best screenplays in I've seen in quite awhile. I see it as a potential Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay and best supporting actor for Liam Neeson. Do you agree? Also, about the Joker- I'm all for Paul Bettany.” - Zac

JETT SAYS: Man I hope BEGINS gets some Oscar run. I could see possibly the F/X, costuming, sound, score, etc. nominations. I would love for one or more of the actors get nominated. We’ll see.

30. “My question is about one of the few disappointments I had with BEGINS. When Bruce is a child and in the Police Station after his parents are killed, why did they have Gordon there? In ‘Year One,’ he is just arriving about the same time as Batman shows up. This part just bothered me because that means that Gordon has been on the force for about 15 years and hasn't really gotten anything done, aside from not taking bribes. Going along with the whole ‘it’s not who you are inside who defines you’ its what you do theme, it would seem for the 15 years Gordon was being a good guy ‘inside’ and not doing much of anything. Any ideas why they had Gordon appear so early?

Anyway, I'm a big Cowboys fan, and that Monday Night loss killed me, especially since I'm at school in DC, but at least we took out the 49ers. Have a good one and thanks.” - John from New Jersey

JETT SAYS: The Gordon thing didn’t bother me. Remember, BEGINS only used aspects of “YEAR ONE,” it was not a direct adaptation of it. I believe they wanted to establish a connection between Bruce and Gordon that would carry over once The Batman arrived.

Yeah, that MNF loss was a kick in the groin, but we did come back and get the ‘niners. This team is going to kill me before the year is up.

31. “I´ve been a longtime Michael Keaton fan and really to this date I still do not know what happened to him after RERURNS. Why was he dropped on BATMAN FOREVER? Was is a case of money?, Joel Schumacher? Was he even offered to make the film? Was he EVER reconsidered after Val Kilmer declined/got fired for B&R? Keep up the good work Jett.” - Carlos B., Mexico

JETT SAYS: Keaton was signed to return and was going to do just that. They even made Bat-suits for him. But he pulled out and has said that he really didn’t like the route that the third film was going. When reading the script, I don’t know what he would think that, as the script was much darker than what ended up onscreen. Maybe he saw the elements of camp that would not be found by just reading the script.

Keaton has said recently that he wanted to do a prequel to BATMAN for the third film. And he was never asked to return after he left the franchise.

32. "You've mentioned you would like to see Penguin handled closer to his image from the current comics. How do you think his character would work in the Nolan/Goyer storyline?" - Grey Bray, New York

JETT SAYS: Greg, what I would like to see is The Penguin used as a secondary villain - much like Carmine Falcone in BEGINS. With Falcone now in a fear gass induced psychosis, there will be a void in Gotham's mob scene. I could see Oswald Cobblepot being a person who presents himself as a legit "businessman," but actually is nothing more than a criminal. This “Penguin” is trying to take over Falcone’s old turf, now that he’s out of commission.

This Cobblepot fancies himself as a man of high society and class. He dresses nice - always in a sharp black suit. No tux, top hat, monocle, or long cigarette holder. Perhaps he’s British. I like the suggestion by one BOF‘er that he keeps his “place of business” really cold. That, along with his sharp black and white attire, has led to the moniker “The Penguin.”

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