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SYFY WIRE Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan recalls how a 'stupid' comment to Tim Burton wrecked his chances of playing Batman

"I can't understand any man who would wear his underpants outside his trousers."

By Josh Weiss
Michael Keaton as Batman; Pierce Brosnan

Before landing the role of James Bond, Pierce Brosnan attempted to protect the streets of Gotham in Tim Burton's Batman. Appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday evening, the actor recalled how one little comment to Burton wrecked his chances to play the Caped Crusader. "I remember saying something stupid to Tim Burton," he remembered. "I said, 'You know, I can't understand any man who would wear his underpants outside his trousers.' But there you go, the best man got the job."

As we now know, Michael Keaton was cast as Bruce Wayne — a decision that caused a furious uproar among the fan community. Thankfully, the naysayers were ultimately forced to eat their words of complaint once the traditionally comedic actor showed himself capable of drama and gravitas. Keaton, who went on to reprise the Dark Knight in Batman Returns, will also play Wayne in next summer's The Flash (and Brosnan ended up working with Burton after all in 1996's Mars Attacks!). 

RELATED: Pierce Brosnan destined to play Dr. Fate in Dwayne Johnson’s upcoming Black Adam film

Another opportunity to join the DC Universe on the big screen came knocking over three decades later with an offer to play a member of the Justice Society of America in the upcoming Black Adam film (out in theaters next week). One might have even called it a twist of...fate. "It was the last thing on my mind to be playing a superhero like Doctor Fate," he admitted of his spell-casting character. We'd compare him to Marvel's Master of the Mystic Arts, but Doctor Fate actually predates Doctor Strange by two decades.

Watch the interview below:

"Everybody wants to know what it was like putting on the costume. What was it like putting on the helmet? You can't see a thing, it's darkness," Brosnan explained. "There were two helmets. There was this stylish, gorgeous-looking, sleek helmet ... and then there was one that I could actually physically put on. But, of course, you're standing there in a motion capture suit, which is the most inelegant and humorous thing to wear."

Nevertheless, he found the experience (a longtime passion project for star and producer Dwayne Johnson) enjoyable. "It was good fun to do. It was a lovely company of actors ... I got to know [Dwayne] more on the press tour than I did on the movie. We had interactions on the film set, but he's a magnificent fellow. He's kind of monolithic and beautiful and owns this role."

Black Adam hits the big screen next Friday — Oct. 21.

Brosnan's episode of The Tonight Show is now streaming on Peacock.