Remember that scene in 1989’s Batman where the Dark Knight audibly snapped a man’s arm in half without even mussing up his ponytail? No? That’s because it didn’t happen, but it very well could have if Steven Seagal had been cast as Bruce Wayne — which is something Warner Bros. apparently wanted.
Batman‘s co-writer, Sam Hamm, recently spoke with Syfy about the movie’s 30th anniversary, where he revealed that Michael Keaton was far from the studio’s first choice to play the Caped Crusader. Instead, they wanted an action star — namely Seagal, who had just burst onto the Hollywood scene with his starring role in 1988’s Above the Law. “There were a lot of people at Warner Bros. who wanted to cast it with an action star,” Hamm said. “They wanted to cast the part as Batman, as opposed to casting it as Bruce Wayne. You have to make Bruce Wayne work, because Batman is, for the most part, going to be a stunt guy, or it’s going to be somebody running around in a costume in long shot. You don’t need the martial arts expertise of, say, Steven Seagal or somebody like that, because you can fake all of that kind of stuff. Seagal was one of the people that was suggested to us.”
Hamm then went into a bit more detail regarding Warner Bros.’ desire for the future star of Under Siege, saying, “Believe it or not. He had just kind of appeared on the scene, people thought holy cow, this guy’s badass. He could be Batman. I don’t think it ever got to the point where he read for it. He was just one of the names that was floated.”
Can you imagine how different the world would be today if Steven Seagal had played Batman? OK, it probably wouldn’t be that different, but Tim Burton’s Batman would be waayyyyy different. It would be a lot more violent. With worse acting. And lots of ponytails. Actually, this is sounding kind of awesome, can we just get Steven Seagal to star in everything?