Site hosted by Build your free website today!







The new batsuit for Batman Returns

Burton's law states that there is always room for revision and improvement, and that extends into every thread of the production including the costumes. One of the few key crew members to make the cross-over from Batman was costume designer Bob Ringwood. The British designer was joined for Batman Returns by American designer Mary Vogt. Tim Burton desired a modification of the first movie's Batman costume, which was itself quite a departure from the comic book's familiar blue and grey tights. The sequel's expanded budget allowed Ringwood and his crew to more clearly realise the hyper-stylized look Burton wanted for his new denizens of Gotham. One of the designs that benefitted from the extra funding was the Batsuit. ''In the first film, the producers wanted the suit to be more muscular, which was confusing since you never knew whether he was actually a muscleman or he was wearing a suit,'' says Ringwood. ''Tim felt this suit was too strong and powerful and wanted it to be softer for the sequel.'' ''The fact is that Batman's new costume is much closer to the original concept we had for the first film,'' says Ringwood. ''It's more like armour now, rather than a muscle suit. We've also modified the mask by strengthening the eyebrows and the nose, and changing the shape of the eyes and chin.''

Ringwood's original unused designs for BATMAN rendered the outfit with sharper edges, giving it an armor-like exterior. When the opportunity arose to modify the suit, Ringwood pulled out his initial drawings; and Vin Burnham, who sculpted the first suit, was flown in from England to sculpt and oversee the creation of the new outfit, with the assistance of sculptors Allison Einon, Jose Fernandez, and Steve Wang. More pre-production time allowed the crew to perfect both the interior and exterior, using a collapsible core to eliminate the glaring seam on the back of the first suit's cowl and having an exact digitized replica of Michael Keaton's head made by Cyberwear to assure a perfect fit. ''Superficially, it looked like the first costume,'' says Ringwood, ''but it was much more sleek and intimidating. We changed the shape of the eyes and strengthened the brows and the nose. We even changed the shape of the chin slightly.''

This time the suit was made from finer rubber and was much closer to Keaton's body due to the digitized measurements the designers had from his body. It cost about 100.000 US dollars and a total of 30 suits were available for Keaton and his stuntmen.

The Penguin's Costume:

For the Penguin, costume designers Ringwood and Vogt not only had to develop original costumes, but also the character's body shape, which differs radically from that of Danny DeVito's. They created a body 'shell' for DeVito to wear, and for his actual wardrobe, they chose a strange Victorian look that's markedtly different from the tuxedo of the comic book representation.

Bob Ringwood commented: ''It's almost like something out of Charles Dickens.''


Catwoman's Costume:

''Tim is a very visual director who's involved in everything, including costumes,'' says costume designer Mary Vogt. ''As an artist, he's able to provide sketches of his basic idea, and gives you the freedom to take off from there.''

In the plot of Batman Returns, Selina Kyle makes her Catwoman costume herself after she's been brought back from the dead by a coterie of cats. As a result, Catwoman's suit has large, visible white stitches to reveal its homemade origins, becoming more ragged and torn as the film progresses. These ragged stitches are also intended to function as a visual suggestion that Selina has been sawn back together again in an act of physical regeneration.

''It's like she's wearing black glass,'' explains Vogt. ''And with Michelle Pfeiffer in it, the suit looks like a beautiful sort of dark sculpture.''