Tim Burton on Batman: “You Put Nipples on the Costume? Go Fuck Yourself”

Jose Fernandez, who designed the Batman costume for Joel Schumacher, recently said he was inspired by Roman Centurions

tim burton batman nipples batsuit fuck yourself
Tim Burton (photo by Gage Skidmore) and Batman Forever (Warner Bros.)

    Tim Burton directed Batman (1990) and Batman Returns (1992) before exiting the franchise over disagreements with Warner Bros. about tone. In a new interview with Empire, he said that his reaction upon seeing the next installment, Batman Forever (1995), was, “You put nipples on the costume? Go fuck yourself.”

    The conversation came as part of a broader reckoning with the twists and turns of the Batman films, which in recent years have trended darker. It’s something Burton had always wanted, he said. “It is funny to see this now, because all these memories come back of, ‘It’s too dark,’ So, it makes me laugh a little bit.”

    As he explained, “[Back then] they went the other way. That’s the funny thing about it. But then I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Okay. Hold on a second here. You complain about me, I’m too weird, I’m too dark, and then you put nipples on the costume? Go fuck yourself.’ Seriously. So yeah, I think that’s why I didn’t end up [doing a third film.]”


    He added, “I’m not just overly dark. That represents me in the sense that…that’s how I see things. It’s not meant as pure darkness. There’s a mixture. I feel really fondly about [Batman Returns] because of the weird experiment that it felt like.”

    Director Joel Schumacher took the reins for Batman Forever and Batman & Robin (1997), pushing the franchise in a much campier direction. He collaborated on the Batnips with lead sculptor Jose Fernandez. As Fernandez told Mel Magazine earlier this month, “It wasn’t fetish to me, it was more informed by Roman armor — like Centurions. And, in the comic books, the characters always looked like they were naked with spray paint on them — it was all about anatomy, and I like to push anatomy. I don’t know exactly where my head was at back in the day, but that’s what I remember. And so, I added the nipples. I had no idea there was going to end up being all this buzz about it.”

    Schumacher became the biggest nipple backer, pushing for them to be even more pronounced in Batman & Robin. Fernandez recalled resisting, but eventually acknowledging, “He’s the boss, so we sharpened them, circled them, and it all became kind of ridiculous.”


    Up next for Burton is a Netflix series about everyone’s favorite Addams Family daughter, WednesdayEarlier this week we got our first look at Jenna Ortega in the title role. His last film was 2019’s Dumbo.