Tim Burton Needed A Jack Nicholson Translator On The Set Of Batman

After “Batman” was complete and out in the world, Tim Burton said, “I worked six days a week and exhausted myself because I feared I wasn’t doing a good job. I still have amnesia about some of it.” The whole production sounds like a real slog despite Jack Nicholson being a surprising bright spot. I say “surprising” because anyone who had read his contract demands might surmise he had become somewhat of a diva at that point in his career. But the reality was that Nicholson knew his worth, and he knew what Warner Bros. had on its hands.

As Nicholson put it in a making-of featurette, “I knew how big it was going to be. I knew this.” That confidence not only allowed the actor to, very presciently, organize things so he got a cut of the impressive profits once they rolled it, it obviously went a long way towards making others feel more comfortable with a movie that was undoubtedly a huge risk for everyone involved — and not just Burton.

Interestingly, if you listen to the rest of Nicholson’s interview from that featurette, you might understand a little of what Burton was talking about. The actor goes on to say, at considerable speed: “For instance, they had a good feeling about it, but in the area which I’m involved in it, I don’t care, but it also cost me some dough, they were totally unprepared for the level of the success of the movie.” It’s almost indecipherable in places, which gives you a sense of what Burton was dealing with. Nicholson is, in all honesty, one of the most capable and insightful actors to ever do it, but his mind obviously runs at a pace even the great Tim Burton couldn’t match.

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