Article by Eric Lee
Actress Kim Basinger has opened up about playing Vicki Vale in Tim Burton’s classic Batman ’89.
Basinger talked about all the drama surrounding the role, even before she got the part. Initially, Sean Young (Blade Runner) had been cast as Vicki Vale, however, Young believed that the the character’s part was severely underwritten. This was a problem that caused Young to butt heads with studio executives. As fate would have it, Young actually suffered a horse riding-related injury and dropped out of the movie.
Basinger’s casting was rushed due to Young’s accident and the production schedule. She was cast almost immediately and needed to quickly fly to London for shooting. Here is Basinger on the frantic nature of getting the role.
I remember just getting a call saying, ‘How quickly can you get over here?’ I think I was in a parking garage or something and I remember thinking, ‘Wow… London… Batman.’ I didn’t really know what I was getting into; I certainly couldn’t comprehend the scope of it.
On the Fluid Creative Process
Basinger recalled how the entire process of shooting Batman felt very loose and fluid. Director Tim Burton was open to a lot of creative input. Basinger also put in what she thought the character needed.
I wanted her to be tough in the newsroom, but I wanted her to be feminine like Cinderella. I love collaboration and I feel that if you’ve got an idea, (put) it on the table. And if I’m wrong who cares? Tim [Burton] was really great when I would write a scene or came to him with an idea, we would explore it.”
That One Un-PC Line
Amusingly, Basinger pointed out one line in the film that would not pass in today’s culture. In the scene where Batman and Vale were escaping the Joker’s henchmen, she lies about her weight. Later, Batman calls her out on it.
I loved that moment in the movie when we’re supposed to go up on the grapple gun and Batman asks Vicki’s weight and she says 108. The sort of lie that stops them both from reaching the rooftop … Body shaming wasn’t a thing then, you couldn’t be skinny enough. It wasn’t pro curves like Kim Kardashian … I do love the joke with Vale and how Batman calls her out on it. Michael [Keaton] could always pull off that kind of dialogue.
For more about Basinger’s time on set and other Batman ’89 retrospective insights, check Hollywood Reporter‘s article here.