Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.
MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Did famed Alien designer H.R. Giger really design a Batmobile for Batman Forever?
1979’s Alien was a brilliant fusion of science fiction and horror as screenwriter Dan O’Bannon and director Ridley Scott had the crew of a spacecraft slowly but surely killed by an alien creature that had essentially stowed away in the body of one of the crew members during an away mission to a nearby planet. The film’s setting of a cramped commercial space vessel was perfectly suited for such a tense thriller.
The alien creature also stood out for its unique and striking design. The creature was designed by Swiss artist Hans Rudolf “H.R.” Giger, who screenwriter O’Bannon had worked with when they were both attached to a Dune film adaptation that never happened. O’Bannon later recalled, “I had never seen anything that was quite as horrible and at the same time as beautiful as his work.” So when O’Bannon’s screenplay for Alien was optioned, he immeditately thought of Giger for the designer of the alien. Director Ridley Scott ultimately chose a design based on a drawing Giger had done called “Necronom IV.”
Studio exectuvies were worried that Giger’s design might be too disturbing for viewers, but Scott was adamant about using Giger’s design and the resulting film obviously proved Scott correct. Giger (and the rest of the Visual Effects team for the film, namely arlo Rambaldi, Brian Johnson, Nick Allder and Dennis Ayling) won the Academy Award for Visual Effects. Giger recently was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. However, reader Steve wrote in to ask if we almost saw Giger’s work appear in Batman Forever, of all places. He asked, “Is it true that artist H.R. Giger did production design art for the film “Batman Forever”, with a radically different design for the Batmobile than the seen in the film (or elsewhere). This rumor seems to get passed around a lot as fact. I would love to see the design sketch’s if they exist. Thank you. Keep up the great work.”
Well, is it true? Did we almost get a surrealist version of the Batmobile? Read on to find out!
1995’s Batman Forever, the third Batman film, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Val Kilmer as Batman, did indeed ask Giger to do a new take on the Batmobile. Giger’s design was described on Batmobile Art as:
His unique “X” shaped design was to include articulated front legs/mandibles, retractable fins, and gatling gun emplacements on each of the four pods on the sides of the vehicle. The design also combined side and forward intake ports with organinic spines and a central pod connecting the four legs.
Ultimately the filmmakers found the X-design a bit too “out there” and they eventually chose a more conventional design by designer Barbara Ling.
But there you go, Steve, the legend is…
Thanks to Steve for the question and thanks to Batmobile Art for the information!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com.
Be sure to check out my Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the worlds of TV, Movies and Music!