Pierce Brosnan has recalled how he messed up his opportunity to audition for Batman after making a joke in front of Tim Burton, the movie's director.
The first live-action Batman movie was released in 1989, and prior to the production, a number of A-list stars were linked with playing Bruce Wayne, including Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Costner, Charlie Sheen, Tom Selleck and Bill Murray.
Michael Keaton was eventually selected for the role, a choice which proved unpopular among fans of the Batman comics. Things could have been very different, though, if Brosnan took his audition a bit more seriously.
Speaking to Jimmy Fallon, he said:
"I went up for Batman way back in the day when Tim Burton was doing it. Obviously, I didn't get the job. I remember saying something stupid to Tim Burton, I said, 'You know, I can't understand any man who would wear his underpants outside his trousers'.
"But there you go, the best man got the job."
Brosnan did not want to play a comic book character
Ultimately, Brosnan was approached to take the role but he had no interest in playing a comic book character, even though he would later audition.
In a Reddit Q&A in 2014, he elaborated more on his decision, at the time.
"I went and met with Tim Burton for the role of Batman," he explained.
"But I just couldn’t really take it seriously, any man who wears his underpants outside his pants just cannot be taken seriously. That was my foolish take on it. It was a joke, I thought. But how wrong was I?
"Don’t get me wrong, because I love Batman, and I grew up on Batman. As a kid in Ireland, we used to get our raincoats and tie them round our neck and swing through the bicycle shed..."
Brosnan would, of course, go on to play one of the most iconic movie characters of all time in James Bond, while Keaton subsequently received positive reviews for his portrayal of Bruce Wayne / Batman.
Action / Thriller
1989 • 126 minutes