Harvey Dent
Two-Face
Joel Schumacher's Batman character
Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face in Batman Forever
First appearanceBatman (1989)
Last appearanceBatman Forever (1995)
Based on
Adapted by
Portrayed by
In-universe information
Full nameHarvey Dent
OccupationDistrict attorney (formerly)
Crime boss
HomeGotham City

Harvey Dent, later known as Two-Face, is a fictional character from the superhero films Batman (1989) and Batman Forever (1995), adapted DC Comics supervillain of the same name. In the first film, Harvey (played by Billy Dee Williams) is introduced as the newly elected district attorney of Gotham City, who vows to lock up crime boss Carl Grissom. By the end of the film, he becomes an ally of Batman and Commissioner Gordon in their war on crime. However, shortly before the events of Batman Forever, Harvey is hideously scarred on the left side of his face after mob boss Sal Maroni throws acidic chemicals at him during a court trial. He subsequently goes insane and becomes the criminal "Two-Face", who is obsessed with the number two and the concept of duality and uses a two-headed coin which was also damaged on one side by the acid to make decisions. During the film, Two-Face (portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones) allies with the Riddler to learn Batman's secret identity and exact revenge on him for failing to save him.

While this version of Two-Face is a much more faithful adaptation of the comic book character than most other villains from the 1990s Batman film series, he is depicted as more comedic rather than threatening, and is responsible for the death of Dick Grayson's family and his subsequent transformation into Robin (a role which is filled by mob boss Tony Zucco in the comics). Although Batman Forever received mixed reviews, Jones' portrayal of Two-Face was one of the few elements that were praised.

This version of Two-Face is set to return in a comic book series titled Batman '89, which continues the stories of the first two Batman films directed by Tim Burton while retconning Batman Forever and its 1997 sequel, Batman & Robin. As such, the character of Two-Face will be reimagined, and remodeled to resemble Billy Dee Williams. The comic book was announced by DC in February 2021 and is set to launch in July.[1]

Film appearances

Batman (1989)

In the first Batman film, Harvey Dent is introduced as the new district attorney of Gotham City, who is ordered by Mayor Borg (Lee Wallace) to work with Commissioner Gordon (Pat Hingle) to make the city safer. Dent and Gordon look into front companies used by crime boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance), but are unsuccessful to gather enough evidence to have him convicted. After the Joker (Jack Nicholson) murders Grissom and takes over his operations, Dent and his department attempt to bring him down, but their efforts are once again mostly useless. After Batman (Michael Keaton) kills the Joker and the GCPD apprehends his remaining men, Dent receives a letter from the vigilante, promising that he will continue to protect Gotham from crime, and telling them to use the Bat-Signal to summon him in times of need.

Batman Forever (1995)

Harvey's origins as Two-Face are explained via a brief television news segment in Batman Forever. During the trial of Sal Maroni (Dennis Paladino), the crime boss throws acid on Harvey's left face, scarring him. This incident breaks the district attorney's psychic, and he becomes the criminal Two-Face. Maroni's fate is left unknown, although he was probably murdered by Two-Face like in the comics.

Two-Face refers to himself in the plural, and has two molls for each side of his personality - the angelic Sugar (Drew Barrymore[2]) for his "good" side, and the tempestuous "Spice" (Debi Mazar) for his "bad" side. He also swears revenge against Batman (Val Kilmer) for failing to save him. After defusing a hostage situation orchestrated by Two-Face, Batman pursues him to the statue of Lady Gotham, but Two-Face escapes. Later, Two-Face and his henchmen attack Haly's Circus and during a hostage situation, he murders Dick Grayson's (Chris O'Donnell) family, who were helping to get rid of a bomb rigged to explode at the annual Gotham Circus for the social elite unless Batman revealed his identity. Following this, Dick is taken in as a ward of Bruce Wayne's and becomes Robin, wishing to kill Two-Face in revenge, which goes against Batman's code.

Two-Face eventually teams up with Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) to learn Batman's secret identity. They commit a series of robberies to finance Nygma's new company and mass-produce his brainwave device, the “Box”, which secretly steals information from users’ minds. Nygma hosts a party where he goads Bruce into using the Box, before Two-Face unexpectedly arrives. As Batman, Bruce pursues Two-Face and is nearly killed, but Dick rescues him. Having discovered Batman's identity, Two-Face and Nygma later attack the Batcave, shoot Bruce, and kidnap his love interest Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman). Batman and Robin infiltrate Nygma's lair to rescue her, but get separated and the latter is also captured after encountering Two-Face and deciding to spare him. After Batman rescues Chase and Robin and defeats Nygma, Two-Face confronts them and flips his coin to decide their fate. Batman throws a handful of coins into the air, causing Two-Face to panic and fall to his apparent death.[a]

Production

Batman director Tim Burton cast Billy Dee Williams in the role of Harvey Dent because he wanted to include the villain Two-Face in a future film using the concept of an African-American Two-Face for the black and white concept.[3] Williams was set to reprise his role in Batman Returns, which would have depicted Harvey's transformation into Two-Face, but the idea was scrapped and the role he would have played in the story was filled by an original character, corrupt business tycoon Max Schreck (played by Christopher Walken). In early drafts of the script, Catwoman killing Schreck at the end of the film was her disfiguring Harvey.

Batman Forever was not directed by Burton, but by Joel Schumacher, who cast Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent / Two-Face after previously working with him on The Client. Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, Martin Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Nicolas Cage, Robert De Niro, and Mel Gibson were also considered to play the character; Gibson had to turn down the role due to his work on Braveheart at the time.[4] The re-casting disappointed Williams, who accepted to play Harvey in the first Batman film only because we has promised that he would get to play Two-Face in a future installment.[5] There was a rumor that Schumacher had to pay Williams a fee in order to hire Jones, but Williams said that it was not true: "You only get paid if you do the movie. I had a two-picture deal with Star Wars. They paid me for that, but I only had a one picture deal for Batman."[6]

Rick Baker designed the prosthetic makeup for Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face. There was originally a more in-depth sequence at involving Two-Face escaping from Arkham Asylum at the beginning of the film, but it was cut.

Joel Schumacher mentioned Tommy Lee Jones as a source of trouble: "Jim Carrey was a gentleman, and Tommy Lee was threatened by him. I'm tired of defending overpaid, overprivileged actors. I pray I don't work with them again."[7] Carrey later acknowledged Jones was not friendly to him, telling him once off-set during the production, "I hate you. I really don't like you ... I cannot sanction your buffoonery."[8]

Ernesto Aura did the Spanish dubbing for Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever.

Reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, Batman Forever has an approval rating of 39% based on 64 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief."[9] Scott Beatty felt "Tommy Lee Jones played Harvey Dent as a Joker knock-off rather than a multi-layered rogue."[10] Batman Forever received six nominations at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards, four of which were divided between two categories (Carrey and Lee Jones for Best Villain; and Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" and U2's "Hold Me" in Best Song from a Movie). However, it won in just one category—Best Song from a Movie for Seal's "Kiss from a Rose".

Legacy

Billy Dee Williams voices Two-Face in the 2017 animated film, The Lego Batman Movie, as a nod to his role as Harvey Dent in the 1989 Batman film.[11][12]

Notes

  1. ^ Director Joel Schumacher confirmed in the DVD commentary for the film that Two-Face survived the fall.

References

  1. ^ Arvedon, Jon (February 18, 2021). "DC Announces Batman '89 and Superman '78 Digital First Series". CBR.com. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  2. ^ Travers, Peter (December 8, 2000). "Batman Forever". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 8, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  3. ^ Batman Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray, Tim Burton Commentary
  4. ^ Batman Heroes Profile: Harvey Dent (DVD). Batman Special Edition: Warner Bros. Home Video. 2005.CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. ^ Robert Wuhl, Billy Dee Williams, Pat Hingle, Batman: The Heroes, 2005, Warner Home Video
  6. ^ "Billy Dee Williams Talks Two-Face, Did Not Get Paid For Batman Forever". Comicbook.com. November 2, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  7. ^ Benjamin Svetkey (July 12, 1996). "Holy Happy Set!". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved August 16, 2008.
  8. ^ "Tommy Lee Jones Once Told Jim Carrey I Hate You, I Really Don't Like You". US Weekly. October 29, 2014. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  9. ^ "Batman Forever". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on August 11, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  10. ^ Bill "Jett" Ramey (November 28, 2005). "BOF Interview: Scott Beatty". Batman-on-Film. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2008.
  11. ^ "Billy Dee Williams on Secret 'Star Wars' Lunch with Donald Glover and Finally Playing Two-Face". The Hollywood Reporter. February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "Watch: The LEGO Batman Movie Cribs Segment Tours LEGO Wayne Manor". Slashfilm. February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.