A fun piece of trivia is making the rounds again, and since we’ve never written about it at /Film, now’s as good a time as any to share it. H.R. Giger, one of the designers of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Alien, was hired to create some Batmobile concept art for director Joel Schumacher‘s 1995 film Batman Forever – and Giger’s design is just as odd as you’d expect from the man whose mind birthed the Xenomorph. Take a closer look below.
H.R. Giger’s Batmobile Concept Art
As you can see from the top left corner, Giger took his inspiration from a pair of scissors; I suppose he envisioned Batman literally cutting through crime in Gotham City. It’s a horrifying mixture of mechanical tubes and phallic imagery, very clearly from the same mind as the man behind Jodorowsky’s unmade version of Dune and Scott’s Alien.
Designer Leon Gor took Giger’s original concept art and rendered it as a 3D model:
Gor’s LinkedIn page says he worked as a vehicle modeler for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for two months in 2012, where he “modeled an alternate unused H.R. Giger Batmobile design seen in the Batmobile Documentary on the Dark Knight Rises DVD/Blu-Ray.” Here’s the trailer for that doc, in case you’re interested:
But here’s the strange part: we watched the documentary, and Gor’s 3D models don’t appear in it. And if that doc came out in 2012, why does this image have a 2018 copyright mark on it? We’ve reached out to Gor and will update this piece if we’re able to get any clarification.
Seeing images like this resurface five years after Giger’s death are a reminder that there’s never been anyone else like him. Honestly, can you imagine Val Kilmer‘s Batman cruising through the streets of Gotham City in this beast? Or Kilmer saying the line “Chicks dig the car” about this ridiculous monstrosity?
In this 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Batman Forever‘s production designer Barbara Ling talked about those early days of working with Giger:
We had early discussions with Giger about the Batmobile. He had these insane, fabulous, weird scribbles that were very like Alien. It was exciting that this strange mind briefly touched upon us, but it didn’t work out. We hired this fabulous team of builders, this young team who had never done a movie before, Trans-FX. From our drawings, we went in to doing little 3D clay and shaping that. It’s amazing how much the design of that morphs. As it becomes more 3D, you go back in and keep redesigning. Drawing a car is one thing, but it doesn’t ever really look like that. Once you 3D that, it’s like “Oh my God. That fender looks gigantic.” TFX said, “We’ll build everything from scratch. We won’t try to work this onto a Ford chassis.” And you couldn’t have.
You can see the actual Batman Forever Batmobile on display near the 2:00 mark of this video I made visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour:
And if all that’s not enough for you, this Russian blog has images of a completely different 3D model of Giger’s art.
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