BATMAN & ROBIN's Alicia Silverstone Could've Been A Sexier Batgirl
When Batman & Robin concept artist, Miles Teves, posted his costume designs for the Batgirl he revealed a much sexier version than the one that ended up on film.
1997's Batman & Robin was directed by Joel Schumacher. It was a success at the box office, earning $238 million worldwide on a budget of $125 million. Incredibly negative response from critics and fans forced Warner Brothers to cancel plans for a fifth Batman, "Batman Triumphant".
One of the many issues with the film was the poor acting performance given by Alicia Silverstone. She was still riding high on the success of her enjoyable performance as Cher in
Clueless, when she signed to be Batgirl. She was actually so teeth grittingly bad that she won a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress.
If you watched the movie and felt as though Batgirl didn't have a whole lot of scenes, than you had a good reason to feel that way. Sadly the actress happened to gain weight during filming and many of her scenes had to be cut for the sake of continuity. The press, or should I say the tabloids had a field day with the news. Joel Schumacher wouldn't stand for it, and addressed the media's taunting of his young starlet by saying: "It was horrible. I thought it was very cruel. She was a teenager who gained a few pounds -- like all of us do at certain times. I would confront female journalists and I'd say, 'With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?'"
With all that out of the way, that brings me to Miles Teves. A talented concept artist that has posted a few variations of Batgirl. The costume designs have some interesting bits of information to accompany the images. One of things you will notice with the designs is that Miles had drawn a costume that would've covered Alicia's hair, pointy ears and all, but that look was rejected. The producers decided to let her hair flow freely, and the only remnants of the head gear is with these concept designs, and some action figures that were made before the toy makers were made aware of the change.
Fun Fact: The Batgirl costume weighed an astonishing, fifty pounds. Even more astonishing is that they used a new lightweight foam rubber concoction that helped make the costumes much lighter than any worn previously in a Batman film.
I knew as I drew this that it could never work on Alicia Silverstone. Though she was sweet and adorable, she was also not 9 feet tall, and had rather more realistic proportions.
Bob Ringwood, the costume designer, always asked me to draw my figures to be about 9 heads tall like they do in the fashion world. He didn't seem to mind that what would work as a concept on someone with those impossible proportions, would not work on a person with real-world human measurements. However, it did make for more heroic and 'sexy' drawings that could sell a design to a fussy director or nervous studio head.
I regret that my idea of the cut-out Bat symbol window on the chest, showing a little skin and cleavage, didn't survive into the final suit. I thought it was kind of clever, and added just the right amount of wholesome flirtiness to the character.
"I called this one 'BatGirl-Rear End' as a spoof on the absurdly overrated 'Batman: Dead End' short that made such a stink on the internet a few years ago. Though it was drawn in 1996. This one always stops people when they are thumbing through my portfolio. Nothing like a tight girl's rear end in glossy black PVC to stop a viewer cold. Even if she is 9 feet tall."
An alternate Batgirl design that is truer to what made it to the screen.
This is a strange blue version I was asked to do. I think they used this as the final design, only fortunately they made it black. I had nothing to do with the suits that had the chrome additions to them. That was pure queerness incarnate.
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