The Heartwarming Reason Annette Bening Turned Down Role of a Lifetime as Catwoman

BUGSY, Annette Bening, 1991
TriStar/Everett Collection
TriStar/Everett Collection

It turns out that Michelle Pfeiffer wasn’t the first choice to play Catwoman in the 1992 film Batman Returns. Annette Bening was set to play the role until her personal life took a turn in another direction. Just a few years prior, Bening was cast in the film Bugsy after being admired by Warren Beatty, who was producing the gangster film. Despite Beatty being a ladies’ man for most of his life, he immediately fell for Bening and the feeling was mutual. The pair married in 1992 and they have four children together.

Which leads us back to Batman Returns. Bening was originally cast as Catwoman but got pregnant and decided to focus on her growing family. Interestingly enough, while Pfeiffer replaced Bening as Catwoman, Bening replaced Pfeiffer in Bugsy, where she met her husband! Pfeiffer once explained, “I was supposed to do ‘Bugsy’. I fell out of that. She did it, so she met Warren [Beatty]. That wouldn’t have happened. And then she was supposed to do ‘Batman Returns.’ She fell out of that. I replaced her. So, we’re always kind of tag-teaming.”

BATMAN RETURNS, Michelle Pfeiffer, 1992

Warner Bros./Everett Collection

It seems that things worked out well for both women. After getting married, Bening and Beatty slowed down their acting careers to focus on their family. However, they played lovers in the 1994 film Love Affair and worked together once again many years later in 2016’s Rules Don’t Apply. They have now been married for over 31 years.

387153 14: Actor Warren Beatty and wife Annette Bening attend the Hollywood fund-raiser for 5th District City Council candidate Tom Hayden March 27, 2001 in Sherman Oaks, CA

Jason Kirk/Newsmakers/Getty Images

Beatty once shared about their children, who are now all grown up, “It is a burden, I think, to have two parents that are well-known, so I completely respect their privacy. I could go on and on and on and on talking about them because they’re brilliant and fun. But no, I think you have to give them a break, and they have their privacy.” Can you picture Bening as Catwoman or do you think Pfieffer was the better Batman Returns character?

Favorite TV Families
Want More?

Favorite TV Families

December 2020

Who was your favorite TV family? We cover the decades, from the Cleavers, Waltons and Brady Bunch, to the Ewings and much more!

Buy This Issue