George Clooney is Completely Forgiven for Batman & Robin, Says Joel Schumacher
The primal urge to rank things is what separates humanity from the animals, and most of the time there's no right or wrong answer. However, when it comes to ranking the actors to have played Batman, convention dictates that there's definitely a wrong answer: Val Kilmer or George Clooney.
Joel Schumacher, though, who directed both of them in Batman & Robin (Clooney) and Batman Forever (Kilmer) says that neither of them should prop up the table, and that Kilmer in particular was "fabulous".
"You know George always says [the failure of] Batman & Robin was his fault," he told Vulture. "No, it's not."
Schumacher said the admission was "very George", but explained that there was a lot more going on than just the nipples on Clooney's Batsuit. The Batnipples.
"First of all, Batman has survived since 1939 - we're the same age. Nothing has ever stopped Batman."
So what happened?
"You know what I think? I shouldn’t have made a sequel, and that's all there is to it," Schumacher said. "I learned that sequels are only made for one reason. I'm sure that Batman Forever was the cheapest Batman movie ever made because Val didn’t get a lot of money, Nicole [Kidman] didn't, Chris O'Donnell didn't, and I didn't. Tommy got a bit of a payday because he'd just won the Oscar for The Fugitive and Jim Carrey had already done Ace Ventura."
It's been said that Batman & Robin, and the late 90s Batman films in general, were full of camp and innuendo, and hinted at a supposed subtext of Bruce Wayne being gay. Schumacher, however, dismissed the idea: "If I wasn't gay, they would never say those things."
"There were a lot of people who I would say, in one particular community, wanted George Clooney to be gay so badly," he added.
Schumacher recalled of shooting Batman Forever that there was "no bad take" whenever Tommy Lee Jones was on camera, Kilmer was "a different story".
"But," Schumacher said, "he was a fabulous Batman."
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.