Michelle Pfieffer Almost Lost the Role of Catwoman Because of Her Dating History With Michael Keaton

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The 1992 film, Batman Returns, sizzled at the box office, thanks in part to the undeniable chemistry between Michael Keaton, who played Batman, and Michelle Pfeiffer, in her iconic performance as Catwoman. That on-screen partnership almost didn’t happen because the dynamic duo had a prior off-screen relationship — and Keaton tried to prevent her from getting cast for a very personal reason.

Pfeiffer downplayed their romance, telling Entertainment Tonight in 2022 that they “dated for a little while” — however, it was a bit more complicated. Actor Robert Wuhl, who played Gotham Globe reporter Alexander Knox in the film, told The Hollywood Reporter. “To put a little fly in the ointment, Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer had previously dated and broken up. At the time, Michael told me he was trying to get back with his ex-wife. Keaton was firmly, and underline firmly, against that casting of Pfeiffer.” It seems that he knew that his chemistry with Pfeiffer was going to be a bit too much while attempting a reconciliation with his ex-wife, Caroline McWilliams.

BATMAN RETURNS, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton, 1992.
©Warner Bros./courtesy of Everett Collection/

Pfeiffer’s talent eventually won out even though Keaton and producer Jon Peters reportedly “got into it” over her casting. The 65-year-old actress remembers the situation very differently and only has fond memories of their time together on set. “It was great actually working with him having had a history, because I was really out of my element. Also, the fact that he had done this kind of picture before and I didn’t know what to expect,” Pfeiffer explained to ET. “I felt really comfortable with him. I felt really safe with him. I could go to him and say, ‘Why am I feeling so awful? I don’t know what’s going on.’ And he would explain it to me. ‘I know. I went through it on the first one.’”

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The behind-the-scenes scuffle turned out to be silly in the end because Pfeiffer and Keaton’s scenes jumped off the screen. If it wasn’t for Pfeiffer’s casting, moviegoers wouldn’t have Catwoman straddling Batman, purring this famous quote to him, “You’re the second man who killed me this week, but I’ve got seven lives left.” It’s an unforgettable movie history moment fans that almost missed out on.

Before you go, click here to see more co-star couples we’ll always wonder about.

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