The Godfather

“My ideas don’t go down so well”: Marlon Brando Was Refused a Deal by WB to Play Iconic Batman Villain in $266M Movie Because of The Dark Knight’s Co-Creator

Marlon Brando was one of the most legendary and respected actors of his time. Starring in one of the most iconic roles of all time, the actor played the role of Vito Corleone in The Godfather franchise. Outside of this, he was also part of massive projects like Apocalypse Now, On the Waterfront, and the 1978 Superman. On top of this, he had also been nominated for a number of Acadamy Awards, winning two, one of which he famously declined.

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

Being this successful, it is quite interesting to find out that Brando almost added another iconic role to his portfolio, having nearly played one of the most iconic Batman villains of all time.

Also Read: “I don’t know anyone like him”: Batman Director Compared Matthew McConaughey to Marlon Brando in His $152M Sandra Bullock Movie That Launched His Hollywood Stardom

Marlon Brando Was Going To Play The Penguin In Batman Returns

While Marlon Brando has played his fair share of iconic characters, what many might not know about the legendary actor is that he was originally supposed to play one of the most iconic and well-known Batman villains in the comics. It was revealed that Brando was one of Tim Burton’s first choices to play the character of the Penguin in his 1992 sequel to his first Batman film, Batman Returns.

Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando, and Al Pacino
Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando, and Al Pacino

Even though the role ultimately ended up going to Danny DeVito, Burton was very keen on getting Brando cast in the role. These, however, were not the wishes of Batman co-creator Bob Kane, as well as Warner Bros. themselves. The production team then moved on to considering Dustin Hoffman, best known for his work in Rain Man, as well as Back To The Future actor Christopher Lloyd, for the role, until they finalized DeVito.

Why Did Warner Bros. Not Want Marlon Brando To Play The Penguin In Batman Returns?

While the actual reasons why Bob Kane and Warner Bros. themselves did not want Marlon Brando to be part of Batman Returns as the Penguin are not clear, there have been many speculations as to why the studio could have come to this session. Even though Brando was Tim Burton’s first choice for the role, some believe the reason why he was not hired for the job was fact that the actor had already played an iconic criminal character and the studio may have not wanted Vito Corleone’s crimes to overshadow that of the Penguin.

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The Godfather

“No. I also wanted Sammy Davis Jr. to play Beetlejuice, so … sometimes my ideas don’t go down so well with the studios. But hey, you try.” said Burton

Some believe the reason to be the fact that Kane was Jewish and Brando has gone on record and passed some deeply anti-Semitic comments on multiple occasions. Burton was once asked about this during an interview, being questioned about whether Brando was ever truly in the running to play the character, to which, the director said no, as the studios did not like his idea. He then went on to say that he also wanted Sammy Davis Jr. to be in and as Beetlejuice but that did not happen, adding that sometimes one tries to do something but it does not pan out.

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