Batman Returns is probably one of the best Batman movies out there. You’ve got the epic portrayal from Michael Keaton as Batman himself, there is Danny DeVito as the twisted Penguin, but most importantly there was Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.
She was purr-fect in basically every way. She was simultaneously psychotic and seductive, confusing poor Bruce Wayne at every turn.
Pfeiffer played Selina Kyle in a way that will probably never be matched.
Her commitment to the role was really what solidified her as most people’s definitive Catwoman. She had fun in the role, but she also was put into some situations that she had to go through some pretty crazy stuff.
First of all, her catsuit was so tight that she would have to be powdered down before squeezing into the suit. She would then need to be vacuum-sealed.
She said that “it was the most uncomfortable costume I’ve ever been in. They had to powder me down, help me inside and then vacuum-pack the suit. They’d paint it with a silicon-based finish to give it its trademark shine. I had those claws, and I was always catching them in things. The face mask was smashing my face and choking me… we had a lot of bugs to work out.”
Even though that seems like it was a nightmare, that wasn’t even the thing she remembers most from the set…
Michelle Pfeiffer remembers shooting the classic movie, but there is still some things about it that don’t feel real. She was on set, in her vacuum-packed costume when she was required to do something that surprised even her.
The scene that causes her so much concern is the one where talking to Penguin about their plans for Batman, when she suddenly puts a live bird into her mouth. You may have thought that was CGI, but as it turns out that was all real.
“I can’t believe I did that,” Pfeiffer said to Variety, “I could have gotten a disease.”
She remembers the one take scene they did by saying, “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.”
Director Tim Burton said “I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed. She had a live bird in her mouth while the camera was rolling. 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.”
I don’t know that actors would do this anymore, especially with CGI being so much easier to do. Can you believe she did this? Watch the scene below and see just how impressive she really is.