Batman Returns recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and on my quest for “new” info on my favourite movie, I found this article on Sam Hamm’s original draft. It’s… different lol
The first villain we meet is Mr. Boniface, introduced inside a prison cell, surrounded by birds. He’s “beak-nosed, epicene, and so fat that it seems his skin should burst.” He also employs an arsenal of trick umbrellas, yet is adamant no one refer to him as his nickname, the Penguin. (“Epicene” means androgynous or asexual, by the way, leading me to wonder how Hamm envisioned Penguin.) The notorious thief bribes his way out of prison and immediately sets out on his next scheme.
He enlists the aid of Selina Kyle, described as “exotic, with vaguely Eurasian features,” and later “dark and elegant, fine-boned, regal of bearing.” Selina works as Curator of Antiquities for a local museum, hiding her double life as a jewel thief with a bondage fetish. Her Catwoman outfit is explicitly described as “a bondage mask…studded, with openings for the eyes and mouth, (with) one incongruous touch; a pair of pointed cat ears.”
Vicki Vale was also still around. Something I did know was Dick Grayson was around and stayed in subsequent drafts until he was taken out altogether. I dunno if I’d trade Hamm’s screenplay for the final cut but I’d love to have seen the original on screen.
More on Batman Returns: The making of Batman Returns, Did Danny DeVito eat a real fish in Batman Returns?, and An ‘Honest Trailer’ for Batman Returns