The Caped Crusader has had a long and prosperous career in cinema, starting with the late, great Adam West in the campiest version of Batman that didn’t have Jim Carey involved. Butbefore Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan brought a sense of importance to the character, Tim Burton and Michael Keaton established Batman as a cinematic treasure.
Now on the 25th anniversary of their beloved sequel Batman Returns, the cast and crew of the film have been speaking about their experiences making the best Christmas movie since Die Hard.
One of the most memorable aspects of the movie is Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance as Selina Kyle, the meek and meager assistant to Christopher Walken’s Maxwell Shreck who gets pushed out of a high-rise building to her death but instead becomes Catwoman.
And though Catwoman maintains an antagonistic presence alongside Danny DeVito’s Penguin throughout the film, the two share one scene that remains the most memorable for the actor to this day: the bird scene.
“I don't think I've ever been so impressed. She had a live bird in her mouth while the camera was rolling," director Tim Burton said in a profile from the Hollywood Reporter. "It was four or five seconds, and then she let it fly out. It was before CG, it was before digital. It was so quick, it seems like it was an effect.”
Pfeiffer places the bird in her mouth to intimidate the Penguin, who in turn threatens to cut a black cat with his umbrella knife.
“I look back and say, ‘What was I thinking? I could've gotten a disease or something from having a live bird in my mouth,’” Pfeiffer said. “It seemed fine at the time. I don't think the bird was drugged or anything. We did that scene in one take. I think Tim likes to torture me a bit, it's like a little brother [or] brat kind of thing.”
It’s great to hear that animals weren’t harmed in the making of Batman Returns, but wow, that is dedication.