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Holy Franchise Killer! Facts About ‘Batman and Robin’ at 25

Steve Palace
(Photo Credit: Ray Tamarra/GC Images & Warner Bros.)

Has it really been 25 years since Batman and Robin came out? Holy franchise killer! The fourth chapter of the original movie series stunk out theaters and terminated the golden goose.

Christian Bale, Ben Affleck and now Robert Pattinson have entered the Batcave since George Clooney hung up the cowl. Yet Clooney’s contribution is unique, for all the wrong reasons. As the man himself admitted!

Has fate been unusually cruel to the picture? Not really. Find out why as we shine a light, or at least a Bat signal, on the widely-mocked installment.

Marlon Brando played a role

Not in the movie itself of course. However, Batman Forever star Val Kilmer decided to bail on another trip to Gotham City when an opportunity to work with Brando became available.

As noted by late director Joel Schumacher (for The Hollywood Reporter’s 20th anniversary coverage), that project was The Island of Doctor Moreau… a notorious critical and commercial failure. Other sources write that Kilmer’s starring role in The Saint was to blame.

George Clooney saved the day. He was relatively cheap compared to co-star Schwarzenegger. Arnie reportedly earned a cool million per day.

Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando, David Thewlis and Fairuza Balk

Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando, David Thewlis and Fairuza Balk in The Island of Doctor Moreau (Photo Credit: New Line Cinema)

Arnie was in tents

Mr. Freeze was Arnie like you’ve never seen him before. With media interest in Batman at a fever pitch, Warner Bros. were on the lookout for snappers at all times.

Extreme measures needed to be taken. Producer Peter MacGregor Scott told THR: “we had a fabric tent around him, when he would walk from his trailer to the stage.” A surreal sight that topped Schwarzenegger’s already eye-popping appearance!

The schedule sure was intensive. Schumacher had a tight deadline for a multi-million dollar picture. Arnie was contracted for 12 hours a day and spent four of those in makeup. Plus the pressure was piling on from other places. Toy companies, for example…

Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney pose with their costumes

The stars of “Batman & Robin,” actors Arnold Schwarzenegger (L) and George Clooney (R) pose with their costumes, Mr. Freeze and Batman, at Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills, CA, where the costume will be on permanent display. Schwarzenegger, who will play Mr Freeze, recently had heart surgery. (Photo Credit: MIKE NELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Wonderful toys

Quoted by Ranker, Schumacher mentioned the word “toyetic” in connection to Batman and Robin. Usually the toy range comes when the film is released. However, Warner Bros. welcomed firms in to advise the production as it happened.

So if you’re wondering why the movie looks like a giant advert for toys, now you know why!

Frosty and Cindy

Speaking to THR, actor Joe Sabatino recalled running into Cindy Crawford during a workout break.

The chance was there to get to know her better. Unfortunately, he was dressed as his Batman and Robin character, Frosty. Does the henchman ever get the girl? What do you think?

Crawford’s fellow supermodel Elle Macpherson played Bruce Wayne’s partner Julie Madison.

Elle Macpherson posing

Elle Macpherson posing for a promo shot (Photo Credit: Warner Bros.)

Bald-faced lies

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal makeup artist Jeff Dawn wasn’t very pleased with the Austrian Oak when he arrived on the set of Batman and Robin. How come?

Arnie had agreed to shave his head to save time in the chair. Unfortunately for Dawn, he showed up with his usual mane. A skull cap would need to be painstakingly applied.

Dawn reportedly picked up some clippers and threatened to shave his pal then and there. Arnie responded with “this big sh**-grin smile,” according to Dawn. The tension was diffused and the star kept his locks.

Still, Schwarzenegger didn’t exactly have a fun time. An LED light designed for his mouth tended to leak battery acid. And he spent the press tour hiding the fact he’d had heart surgery.

Mr. Freeze

Batman & Robin promo shot (Photo Credit: Warner Bros.)

The original Poison Ivy

Uma Thurman was cast as Poison Ivy, but an earlier attempt to bring the character in was abandoned.

Nicole Kidman’s Dr. Chase Meridian from Batman Forever was an original creation that wound up in the comics. But Kidman was originally considered for the plant-based predator, before the production stuck with Two Face and The Riddler.

Demi Moore and Sharon Stone were potential Ivys. Meanwhile, Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris might have been in the frame for Freeze. Talk of Patrick Stewart was apparently just speculation.

Uma Thurman in her Poison Ivy costume

Uma Thurman in her Poison Ivy costume (Photo Credit: Warner Bros.)

Batgirl’s body shaming

Alicia Silverstone played Batgirl. Sadly, this was at a time when body image was considered fair game for fans and production staff alike. Comic book artists have a habit of drawing impossible physiques and Silverstone suffered as a result!

“I can’t say it was that fun” Silverstone told the Reelblend podcast, concerning her experience. “And it came at a time in my life when people were being very unkind.” She also described the positives, such as George Clooney’s encouragement and the relationship she had with veteran actor Michael Gough (Alfred).

Alicia Silverstone

Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl (Photo Credit: Warner Bros.)

Bat lash

Not many people are lining up to defend Batman and Robin, even now. It has its admirers, but Joel Schumacher isn’t one of them. “A lot of it was my choice” he confessed to Vice. “No one is responsible for my mistakes but me.”

Robin, aka Chris O’Donnell, agreed that the end product wasn’t the best it could be. “I felt it wasn’t tight and it wasn’t thought out,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “People just got greedy.”

Bat bladder

Michael Keaton requested a zipper for his Bat suit when making Batman Returns (1992). If only George Clooney had followed his advice, perhaps he wouldn’t have so many regrets about the film!

He wasn’t nappy, sorry happy, about having to urinate in his Bat pants when the shoot went on too long. This wasn’t the studio’s idea – sometimes a (Bat) man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…

George Clooney in costume

George Clooney in the restrictive costume (Photo Credit: Warner Bros.)

Batman and Robin killed a comeback for the Joker

A fifth film was set to showcase Coolio as The Scarecrow. The rapper and actor briefly appeared in Batman and Robin as the villain’s alter ego, Jonathan Crane. Nicolas Cage was initially contacted about the role.

Master of hallucinations Crane would reportedly have made Bruce Wayne conjure up old nemesis The Joker. As played by Jack Nicholson? Quite possibly. Guess we’ll never know. The project hit the skids and that was that for the franchise.

Go West (and throw yourself on his mercy)

Years later, George Clooney encountered Sixties Batman Adam West at New York Comic-Con. He apologized for his contribution, being sure to mention bizarre features such as the infamous metal nipples. Ironically, Batman and Robin was meant to be lighter in tone, much like West’s version.

Adam West sits at a convention

Adam West attends the “Batman: The Complete Series” DVD release presentation during Comic-Con International 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 24, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

More from us: Michael Keaton is Back in the Batcave… But Why Did He Leave in the First Place?

Clooney also mentioned how his wife Amal is forbidden from watching the movie. “There are certain films I just go, ‘I want my wife to have some respect for me’” he revealed, during publicity for The Tender Bar. That film was directed by Clooney and starred former Caped Crusader Ben Affleck.