Once upon a time, James Bond could have been the Dark Knight.
Quite a few of Hollywood's biggest stars were considered for the title role in Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster Batman. The role eventually went to Michael Keaton, but before Burton made that at-the-time controversial choice, everyone from Mel Gibson to Bill Murray was a possibility. Including, it turns out, Pierce Brosnan, who was at the time best known for his work on the TV series Remington Steele.
It certainly makes sense that Brosnan's name was in the Batman hat. He'd already proven he could do action, and that he'd look great strutting around Wayne Manor in a tuxedo. So why didn't he get the role? During a recent Reddit AMA to promote his new film The November Man, Brosnan revealed that he wasn't interested in the part, despite having loved Batman as a child, because he thought the idea of dressing up in the costume was "a joke."
"I went and met with Tim Burton for the role of Batman. But I just couldn't really take it seriously, any man who wears his underpants outside his pants just cannot be taken seriously," Brosnan said. "That was my foolish take on it. It was a joke, I thought. But how wrong was I?"
Playing Batman would've certainly altered Brosnan's career trajectory, but in the end it worked out well for everyone. Burton made a blockbuster and went on to make a sequel, Michael Keaton got his place in cinema history as the Caped Crusader, and Brosnan went on to fill another iconic movie role in James Bond, a character he played in four films over the course of seven years.
And of course, these days far fewer actors are looking at superhero roles and laughing them off.