Bill Murray reveals why he turned down the opportunity to play Batman

Before Michael Keaton played Batman on the big screen, Bill Murray was geared up to play the DC Comics character. Now, the actor has explained why he ultimately passed up the opportunity.

Back in the 1980s, director Ivan Reitman was attached to a Batman movie, and reportedly wanted to center his take on the Caped Crusader around Murray’s Bruce Wayne and Robin, played by comedy icon Eddie Murphy.

By that point, only Adam West had portrayed a live-action version of the Dark Knight and after Murray agreed to star, the idea was pitched to Murphy. According to the former, in a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment (opens in new tab), the latter wasn’t keen on playing the sidekick though, which lead to the project falling through.

“I talked to Eddie Murphy about it and Eddie wanted to play Batman,” the Groundhog Day star recalled. “That’s as far as the conversation went… I don’t wanna be the Boy Wonder to anybody. Maybe much earlier, when I was a boy. But it was too late for that by the ’80s.”

Batman 1989

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

“Also, I couldn’t do the outfit. Eddie looks good in purple, and I look good in purple. In red and green, I look like one of Santa’s elves. There was just a lot of vanity involved in the production. It wasn’t gonna happen.”

Reitman stayed linked to the movie for a while, before packing it in and making Ghostbusters with Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis instead. Later, Tim Burton took over the Batman project, and introduced the Gotham vigilante to a whole new generation in 1989.

Since then, Batman has been played by the likes of Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck and most recently, Robert Pattinson, who fronts Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Check out our ranking of the best Batman movies.

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