Tim Burton Says Jack Nicholson ‘Protected’ And ‘Nurtured’ Him On ‘Batman’ Set In 1989

Director Tim Burton is a Hollywood mainstay, but that wasn’t always the case. Now the 64-year-old is reflecting on one of his first big projects and how he was treated by actor Jack Nicholson.

Burton discussed his time working with Nicholson, who played The Joker in the 1989 classic “Batman.” First, he told Empire that the “Terms of Endearment” star was difficult to communicate with.

“Jack has a very abstract way of speaking. So he would say things to me and I’d go, ‘Yeah, I get it,’ and then I’d go to someone, ‘What the f*** was he just talking about?”‘ Burton told the publication. “So there was this weird communication: non-linear, non-connective … But it was very clear to me. I felt like we had a good sort of caveman-style communication.”

At that point in his career, the director had only made “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” in 1985 and “Beetlejuice” in 1988. Burton described how not everyone was on board with his vision for “Batman,” but said Nicholson became his source of support and confidence.

“[Nicholson] protected me and nurtured me, kept me going, by just not getting too overwhelmed with the whole thing. I felt really supported by him in a very deep way,” Burton explained during the interview, per the Daily Mail.

“I was young and dealing with a big studio, and he just quietly gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do. And him being a voice of support had a lot of resonance with the studio. It got me through the whole thing. It gave me strength,” the award-winning director continued.

“Batman” was a major success at the box office, grossing $251 million domestically and more than $400 million worldwide on a $40 million budget.

Burton had previously talked with Empire about the newest “Batman” movie returning to darker themes, as The Daily Wire previously reported

“It is funny to see this now, because all these memories come back of, ‘It’s too dark,’” Burton said of criticism over his follow-up film, “Batman Returns.” “So, it makes me laugh a little bit.”

“[Back then] they went the other way,” he continued, referencing Joel Schumacher’s campy, over-the-top movies “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin.”

“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 f*** yourself.’ Seriously. So yeah, I think that’s why I didn’t end up [doing a third film] …” he said.

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