And those are just some of the weirdest choices.
When Burton’s Batman (1989) was in development, some of Hollywood’s top stars at the time were considered for the main role. Murray and Sheen were going to be cast if the film was a comedy (blame the 60’s TV series). However, when they decided to shoot a “darker” Batman flick, these were the actors considered to play the Dark Knight:
Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Tom Selleck, Harrison Ford, and Dennis Quaid.
Tim Burton was pressured by Warner Bros. to cast an obvious action movie star so he approached Pierce Brosnan (who’d played Remington Steele for five years) but apparently he wasn’t interested in playing a comic book character. Since Burton preferred casting an unknown actor, he also offered Ray Liotta (who still hadn’t achieved fame thanks to Goodfellas) a chance to audition after having completed Something Wild, but Liotta declined, a decision he obviously regrets. Willem Dafoe, who was falsely reported to be considered for the Joker, had actually been considered for the Dark Knight role early in development.
Michael Keaton was suggested by producer Jon Peters, arguing the actor had the right “edgy, tormented quality” after having seen his dramatic performance in Clean and Sober. Burton agreed, having directed him in Beetlejuice. The latter was one of the things that caused a controversy when Keaton was cast, since most fans saw him as a comedian.