To prepare for the role, Michael Keaton worked out for two months and learned kickboxing from his stunt double, David Lea. Though hard to spot, many of the fight scenes are just about evenly split between Keaton and David Lea in costume, depending on the level of physical demand. Michael Keaton would go on to perform more of his own stuntwork for Batman Returns, according to Tim Burton's commentary.
Although Michael Keaton did physically prepare for the role (working out, fight training), stunt doubles were still required, due to the heavy and restrictive nature of the batsuit. Sean McCabe(RIP) did the standard stunts (falls, etc), Dave Lea did the more elaborate fights (the alley and cathederal), as well as a ballet dancer for swishing the cape. On Batman Returns, Dave Lea (returning as Keaton's double, as well as trainer and the films fight choreographer) got Keaton more involved in the fight scenes (even putting him in for some moves in the big street fight with the Red Triangle Circus gang).
Adam West (the star of the TV series) wanted to play Batman, but Michael Keaton was given the role after getting the nod from Bob Kane, one of the creators of the original Batman comic strip. Adam was (rightly) very disappointed to be 'blanked' by the filmmakers by not ever being talked with or asked to participate in the film in any way, not even a cameo.
Bob Cane, when designing the costume for Batman, had attended a stage play called "Nosferatu" with Maxwell Schreck playing the title role. It was the cape that Maxwell wore that helped inspire the cape and over-all look of the bat-costume. Maxwell Schreck was paid homage in "Batman Returns" when a character bearing his name was played by Christopher Walken.
When Annette Benning pulled out of production on 'Batman Returns' she was allegedly going to be paid $45000, when Michelle Pfeiffer took over the role (thank God) her payment shot up to one million dollars.
The Batman script changed quite a bit from Sam Hamm's original screenplay even as the script was being filmed. Filming of the climax of the movie coincided with the Hollywood writer's strike, and, as a result, Burton and Keaton both have said they were writing the ending to the film on set. This might explain how the biggest gripe of the Batman film made it into the movie: the Bat-wing is felled by a single bullet notwithstanding that the Batmobile was bulletproof.
Anton Furst's designs for Gotham City were eventually incorporated into the comic book depiction of Gotham City in the early 1990s as a tribute to Furst who died shortly after filming. Most of his designs eventually disappeared from the comic book Gotham, especially after Gotham was decimated by an Earthquake, becoming a veritable "No Man's Land" for a time.
In 'Batman Returns' Michelle Pfeiffer (Catwoman) picked up how to use the bull whip very quickly. Her trainer on set said she could have been a 'master of the whip'. She performed all her own whip stunts. In one scene, while she's destroying Shrecks department store, she whipped the heads off three manequins in her first and only take. MEOW!
When Tim Burton first read "Batman: The Dark Night Returns", he wanted to do the film based on the comic. In the comic, it had so much story that if it were a movie it would be about four hours! Warner Bros. didn't want that, so they told Burton to do something different!
Robin was close to appearing in both "Batman" and "Batman Returns". In the latter film, the producers went so far as to cast Marlon Wayans as Robin. The story goes that Burton (rightly) felt there were too many new characters in the film already, and Robin had no importance to the story. Supposedly, Burton promised Marlon he'd be in the next one ("Batman Forever") but Schumacher became the director and cast Chris O'Donnell. This is similar to Billy Dee Williams, who was promised to the role of Two-Face in a future film before the character was re-cast.
Rene Russo was originally cast as Dr. Chase Meridian for "Batman Forever" to play opposite Michael Keaton as Batman. When Keaton bowed out and Kilmer took over, Nicole Kidman was cast as Chase because it was decided she'd have better chemistry opposite Kilmer.
When Keaton got the part of Batman, fans cried bloody murder and some even threatened to boycott Batman merchandise. Years later, fans screamed bloody murder when Michael Keaton left and was replaced by Val Kilmer.
As a result, Sean Young wanted the part of CatWoman in the sequel so badly that she allegedly went 'temporarily insane', dressing up as CatWoman and accosting studio reps at Warner Brothers. She even sported the old CatWoman "purrrrrfect" accent when delivering interviews. The part eventually went to Michelle Pfeiffer. Sean Young eventually went to Ace Ventura... Poor girl!
Before sending the "Bat-Man" concept to DC comics, Bill Finger, friend to Bob Kane, helped Bob a great deal. Kane's original designs were comical, depicting a buccanear type hero, with a red hood, mask and only a small glider with bat wings. With Bills re-sketches, Batman became the comic legend we see today, instead of Bob Kanes' comic version.
The costume design for the '89 movie was supposed to mirror that of the the '60's original, but Burton wanted to opt for something more dark, brooding and sleeker, ending up with the final design. The all-black costume was to mirror the fact that Batman owns the night.
The throne the Joker sits on when he spreads money over the city is a copy of the "Silver Throne", the royal throne of Sweden which the king of Sweden still uses at the opening of the Swedish Parliament. The replica was made for the film "Queen Christina"(1933)
Micheal Keaton sprained a muscle in his calf while filming the opening roof-top scene, due to the inflexibility of the costume, when he tried to kick a thug. As a result, his leg no longer goes as high as normal to this day.