Whatever Happened to the Cast of the 1989 ‘Batman’ Film?

BATMAN, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson (on TVs), 1989
Everett Collection

There have been many Batman portrayals over the years and of course, every fan has their favorite. One of the best versions happened in 1989 starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman as he faced villain Jack Nicholson’s the Joker. The famous Tim Burton directed this film after the success of his film Beetlejuice and became the first installment of the Warner Bros. movie series.

At the time, it was a big deal to cast Keaton in the role as he was mostly known as a comedic actor. Keaton and Nicholson’s performances ended up being praised and the film did extremely well at the box office, bringing in over $400 million. Burton and Keaton returned for the 1992 sequel Batman Returns but in ’95 Val Kilmer took over and later George Clooney in ’97. In honor of the film’s release date anniversary, let’s find out where the top cast is now.

Billy Dee Williams (86)

Harvey Dent

billy dee williams batman

Warner Bros.

Billy Dee Williams portrayed the character Harvey Dent and was expected to play the character who ultimately turns into the villain Two-Face in the sequel. However, he was replaced with a new villain Max Shreck played by Christopher Walken in the second film. Williams got to voice Two-Face in 2017 though in The LEGO Batman Movie. One of his other most famous roles is Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise and reprised his role recently in 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He’s also voiced the character in video games and animated series.

IS THAT BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU?!?, Billy Dee Williams, 2022

Netflix/Everett Collection

Aside from Star Wars, Williams has mainly appeared as a guest star in shows such as Scrubs and more recently, Dhar Mann. He also appeared on Dancing With the Stars in 2014 and is an accomplished painter.

Robert Wuhl (71)

Alexander Knox

robert wuhl kim bassinger batman

Warner Bros.

Robert Wuhl played the Gotham Globe reporter Alexander Knox. After Batman, he appeared in the films Blue Chips, Missing Pieces, Cobb, and Mistress. He also created and starred in the HBO comedy series Arli$$ in the late ’90s and early 2000s. He went on to appear in shows such as Boston Legal, Everybody Hates Chris, and voiced himself in several episodes of American Dad!

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 15: Actor, presenter Robert Wuhl speaks on stage during The T.J. Martell Foundation 43rd New York Honors Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 15, 2018 in New York City

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The T.J. Martell Foundation

He recently reprised his role as Knox in a cameo in Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part 1 and Supergirl.

Kim Basinger (69)

Vicki Vale

BATMAN, Kim Basinger, 1989

Everett Collection

Kim Basinger may be best known for playing Vicki Vale in Batman and the movie is still the highest-grossing film on her resume. While she worked steadily in the ’80s and ’90s, she took a break after the birth of her daughter, Ireland in 1995. She also had some financial struggles after being sued for backing out of the film Boxing Helena and had to file for bankruptcy.

FIFTY SHADES DARKER, Kim Basinger, 2017

Doane Gregory/Universal Pictures/Everett Collection

Luckily for Basinger, she experienced a comeback in ’97 after her role in L.A. Confidential. In more recent years, she appeared in Grudge Match, The Nice Guys, and two Fifty Shades movies. In the last few years, she has lent her voice to a short called Back Home Again as well as a video game. Basinger is also a big advocate for animal rights.

Jack Nicholson (86)

Jack Napier/The Joker

BATMAN, Jack Nicholson, 1989

Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

Jack Nicholson is perhaps the most famous person on this list and the most mysterious in recent years. Prior to Batman, Nicholson had already won two Oscars and in order to play the Joker, he had several demands including $6 million, a cut of the film’s box office, and merchandising profits which ended up being around $90 million. He continued working after Batman in films such as As Good As It Gets, A Few Good Men, Anger Management, The Departed, and The Bucket List. After 2010’s How Do You Know, he retired from acting.

HOW DO YOU KNOW, Jack Nicholson, 2010

David James/Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

He has been invited to work on several films including The Shining sequel Doctor Sleep but has declined, only seen in public at Los Angeles Lakers home games in recent years.

Michael Keaton (71)

Bruce Wayne/Batman

BATMAN, Michael Keaton, 1989

Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

While fans initially scoffed at Michael Keaton being cast as Batman, they ultimately changed their minds after seeing his performance. After the success of Batman and Batman Returns, he worked on Jackie Brown, Multiplicity, Jack Frost, Toy Story 3, The Other Guys, and Birdman. He experienced somewhat of a career resurgence after his role in Birdman, appearing in The Founder, Spotlight, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Dumbo, and more.

THE FLASH, Michael Keaton as Batman / Bruce Wayne, 2023

Warner Bros./Everett Collection

Keaton recently reprised his role as Bruce Wayne in The Flash and reprised his Spider-Man role of Adrian Toomes/Vulture in Morbius.

Who is your favorite actor on this list? You can watch Batman on the streaming services Max, ROW8, Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, or Redbox at the time of posting.

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