Pierce Brosnan Turned Down His Chance To Be Batman Because Of The Underpants

Before superhero films became the dominant form of entertainment, not everyone looked at them the same way. Costumes that were often created to pop on the page didn't necessarily translate to live action. Think about the green Hulk with the purple shorts that, no matter how hard anyone has tried, doesn't really work that well on screen. The whole "underpants outside of clothes" thing a lot of superheroes have in comics is there for many reasons, one of them being that they break up the drawing with a contrasting color. It's also kept some actors from wanting to play superheroes before their heyday. 

This was true for Pierce Brosnan, who had a chance to play Batman in the 1989 Tim Burton film. Now, the man has played 007 himself, James Bond, who is a little cartoonish in his own way (despite the love so many of us have for him). But when all you had to compare Batman to was the 1960s TV series starring Adam West, you can understand why Brosnan might not have wanted to play the role. 

Underwear that's fun to wear

We all know what the cinematic Batman has become, how his suit has changed, and that he's definitely not wearing tighty-whities (blueies?) over his tactical armor. We didn't, however, know that long ago, in the far-off mists of time that was the late 1980s. If you look at Adam West's costume from the series, you can see his gray shirt, his very shiny blue cape, gloves, and yes, wrinkly satin underpants. No spandex back then in those things, I guess. 

In a long-ago Reddit AMA (via Independent.ie), Brosnan spoke about how he almost got to play Batman in the Tim Burton film but passed it up because of underpants. Sort of. He said:

I went and met with Tim Burton for the role of Batman. 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.

Oh, I think he can be forgiven for this. I had Batgirl Underoos as a little kid that sort of looked like West's costume, and I really do get it.

No capes!

Superhero costumes can be very silly, no matter how much one loves them (and I do). They're so silly that films often make jokes about them when they come close to the comics-accurate version. Back before "Batman," onscreen costumes looked exactly like he said, where they'd tie raincoats around their necks. Even that first film had the super pointy ears, which were a little goofy, but what came out of that film was a generation of people who wanted more superhero films. 

It's always fun to speculate on what could have been, and Pierce Brosnan would have made a great Batman, I'm sure, but Michael Keaton just blew me away as the Caped Crusader. He's still my Batman, despite the love I have for all the rest (including Adam West). Plus, Brosnan is in a superhero film after all. He's playing Doctor Fate in "Black Adam." 

I think it worked out exactly the way it was supposed to, but hey, maybe there's an alternate timeline in the vast multiverse (sorry, wrong franchise) where we got a Brosnan Batman and a Tom Cruise Iron Man. This version of the world will never know.