Tim Burton’s Catwoman film, and its script problems

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Disagreements over the script for a Michelle Pfeiffer-headlined Catwoman movie from Tim Burton have been revealed: more here.


By the time he came to the end of shooting 1992’s Batman Returns, director Tim Burton pretty much knew that his time in Gotham City was at an end. His decision to not return for what became Batman Forever suited both him and Warner Bros (not least because of the backlash). But still, there was the olive branch of a Catwoman spin-off movie, that would have starred Michelle Pfeiffer.

This was actually rumoured for some time, and some work was done on the feature.

Daniel Waters, who penned Batman Returns, was hired to take a pass at a Catwoman feature, and as he described just before Christmas (courtesy of IndieWire), he pitched a film where Selina Kyle/Catwoman would have moved to “a Los Angeles version of Gotham City”.

Waters would describe his idea as the TV show The Boys, just long before The Boys became a thing.

Burton was said to have not warmed to Waters’ take on the project. Instead, “he wanted to do an $18m black and white movie, like the original Cat People, of Selina just lowkey living in a small town”.

That’s according to Waters. Warner Bros, the parent studio concerned, never stumped up the money for a Catwoman film, and anyway, Tim Burton would instead jump onto something smaller: his black and white biopic of Edward D Wood Jr, Ed Wood (that I still think is his best film).

Even then, he took on Ed Wood after noodling with the idea of another blockbuster, Mary Reilly, that he eventually walked away from and left in the hands of Stephen Frears.

The eventual Catwoman movie would be directed by Pitof, would land in the mid-2000s, and see Halle Berry in the title role. It’d, er, be fair to say that it landed some way short of a masterpiece. As for Tim Burton’s Catwoman, it’s hard to gauge just how close it came to being a thing. The likelihood is though that after a bit of development, it eventually just petered out.

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