Sean Young in ‘Blade Runner (Warner Bros./Getty Archives)/Batman Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Michael Keaton was ready to film Batman in late 1988 opposite its female lead, Sean Young, but that quickly changed days before filming.
Young, who had starred in blade runner as the female lead opposite Harrison Ford, was cast as Vicki Vale and spent five weeks in pre-production. Shortly before filming began, Young was practicing one of his hobbies, which led to a minor accident that changed the course of his career.
Robert Wuhl, who played journalist Alexander Knox in the film, explains in the The shadows of the bat documentary series, “Vicki Vale was originally Sean Yong. It wasn’t Kim Basinger.
Chris Kenny, co-producer, also explained in the documentary: “Sean Young was there. She was there for four or five weeks of pre-production and Sean wanted to go practice his riding but fell off and we were about a week away from filming.
Amazingly, Sean Young appears in the documentary just to offer his thoughts on what happened. Looking back on her missed opportunity, it’s almost heartbreaking to hear her perspective, even though she seems more than mature in her thought process.
She says in the documentary that she fell off the horse and broke her arm: “I couldn’t hold on. I just couldn’t hold on and there’s a kind of poetic symbolism about it.
She further explains how her career has likely changed since the accident:
“Somehow I think back to that particular time in my life and I’m like, ‘Wow, I wish I could have held on to that horse.’ I wish I could have done that because at the turn of my career I could have stayed on the movie, I could have been in a big box office hit, I could have moved on to other big hits at the box office and then, you know, that kind of domino effect would have happened in my career. That was the turning point in my career where that didn’t happen.
Young ended up having some other weird things in his career, which I’ll explain in a bit.
After his accident, however, Batman the producers were suddenly forced to find a new actress for the role very quickly. Chris Kenny said, “At the time, it was kind of a panic to recast her.”
Director Tim Burton, the producers and the studio met over the phone to discuss who should play Vicki Vale. However, the options were very limited as few actresses were fully available and ready to travel to London in a day or two and begin filming almost immediately.
Turns out Kim Basigner was available and willing. Basinger, a model who had achieved acclaim in Hollywood as an actress, thanks in part to Robert Benson’s 1987 film Nadineprobably didn’t realize she was about to star in the highest-grossing film of her acting career.
In the documentary, Basinger is extremely gracious and talks about how quickly she got to London, but also notes that upon arriving on set she thought to herself that it wasn’t just a movie, ” it was an experience.”
The following year, Sean Young was chosen against Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy, but she was fired. For what? The excuse given was that she was not motherly enough for the role. Why give it to him then? In 2021, Young said The daily beast that it was because Beatty had made sexual advances to her to which she was unresponsive. Shortly after, she was fired. Warren Beatty denied the allegations.
Young continued the role of Catwoman in 1992 Batman following, Return of Batmangoing on the Joan Rivers show disguised as Catwoman. It was apparently an attempt to get Burton’s attention as a way to campaign for the role, but Michelle Pfeiffer was cast instead.
Young starred in the 1992 Miramax film love crimes, about an assistant district attorney who goes after a sexual predator. After the film, Young claims Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein exposed himself to her. Young did not respond favorably to Weinstein, nor should she have. Weinstein denies the allegations. She never worked with Miramax again and said her career trajectory went into a downward spiral after not being receptive to Weinstein’s alleged sexual advances.
Sean Young’s career is filled with frustrations, most of which — aside from Batman — are due to the decisions and actions of others.