Julia Roberts was almost cast as Julie Hastings before she got the role in Pretty Woman and had to be replaced.
Director Sam Raimi wanted Bruce Campbell to play the lead role, but the producers were uncertain that Campbell could handle the part.
Gary Oldman was considered to play Peyton/Darkman.
For the role of Darkman, Sam Raimi wanted someone who could play a monster with the soul of a man. An actor who could do all that beneath a lot of makeup. He also liked Liam Neeson's Gary Cooper charisma. Neeson was drawn to the operatic nature of the story and the inner turmoil of the character. To research the role, Neeson contacted the Phoenix Society, an organization that helps accident victims with severe disfigurements adjust to re-entering society.
Danny Elfman thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam Raimi on this movie. He commented "Sam has a wonderful visual style that lends itself easily to music. There was no reason to hold back on this one." The two would collaborate on future projects, but they're partnership ended with Spider-Man 2 (2004), due to creative differences. They would reunite however, for Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Director Sam Raimi originally wanted to base this movie on "The Shadow" and had to create the character of "Darkman" when he couldn't obtain the rights.
The production suffered from behind-the-scenes troubles. The screenwriting process was grueling, and there were lengthy post-production battles with the studio. Also, Sam Raimi and Frances McDormand clashed because of creative differences. She was allegedly very difficult to direct.
Demi Moore was considered for the role of Julie. Bridget Fonda tested for the role.
The script went through 12 drafts overall. The reason is because Sam Raimi wanted to explore Peyton/Darkman's arc over the course of the film. He said: "I decided to explore a man's soul. In the beginning, a sympathetic, sincere man. In the middle, a vengeful man committing heinous acts against his enemies. And in the end, a man full of self-hatred for what he's become, who must drift off into the night, into a world apart from everyone he knows and all the things he loves."
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, close friends of Sam Raimi, did some uncredited doctoring on the finished script.
Sam Raimi described his intent for the film to be like an ideal comic book: "as dynamic and smashing as possible."
Larry Drake was cast because of the way he underplayed Durant. Quiet, careful, but intense. Sam Raimi had never watched a single episode of L.A. Law, where Drake played the developmentally disabled Benny. But Drake's face reminded him of a modern day Edward G. Robinson. He looked so mean and domineering, yet he had an urban wit about him. Raimi believed these qualities made him the perfect adversary for Darkman.
Liam Neeson worked 18 hour days in ten-piece makeup, but he liked the challenge, and the idea of working behind a mask on camera, as well as exploring the possibilities this entailed. Neeson also had input on the costume he wore as Darkman, especially the cloak. The hardest part was speaking with false teeth, because he didn't want them to move at all.
Originated from a short story by Sam Raimi that paid homage to the Universal horror films of the 1930s.
The editing process was extremely difficult, and the editor allegedly had a nervous breakdown and left production. The Universal executives were also rather nervous with some of the wild things in the film and insisted they be taken out. Sam Raimi confessed that studio movie-making, as opposed to independent filmmaking, didn't fulfill him in the same way. Raimi attributed Universal's marketing campaign to Darkman's success at the box-office.
Kathy Bates was originally cast as the burn doctor but backed out before filming. Jenny Agutter took over the role at the request of John Landis.
Among Durant's henchmen, the only one who survives is the one with a machine gun hidden inside a wooden leg. His fate remains unknown.
Richard Dreyfuss and James Caan both turned down the role of Louis Strack Jr.
A display case in Robert Durant's mansion seems to imply that he is a veteran of the U.S. Army's famed 101st Airborne Division.
Some of Darkman's elements were inspired by Batman. Sam Raimi is a fan of the Batman character, and was among those passed over to direct the 1989 Batman movie.
Liam Neeson's first action film.
Bruce Campbell: at the very end.
Ivan Raimi: alongside John Landis as a doctor in the burn ward.
In addition to playing Darkman in his final transformation at the end, Bruce Campbell also voiced some of the screams of characters who fall to their deaths.
R | 1h 36min | Action, Crime, Fantasy | 24 August 1990 (USA)
A brilliant scientist left for dead returns to exact revenge on the people who burned him alive.
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Sam Raimi (story), Chuck Pfarrer (screenplay)
Stars: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels