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Fascinating Facts About ‘Batman & Robin’ – George Clooney Hated the Film!

Photo Credit: 1. Ray Tamarra / GC Images 2. Zayne / Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: 1. Ray Tamarra / GC Images 2. Zayne / Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Has it really been over 25 years since Batman & Robin (1997) came out? 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. However, Clooney’s contribution is unique – for all the wrong reasons.

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

Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando, David Thewlis and Fairuza Balk as Montgomery, Dr. Moreau, Douglas and Alssa in 'The Island of Dr. Moreau'
The Island of Dr. Moreau, 1996. (Photo Credit: Zayne / New Line Cinema / MovieStillsDB)

Not in the movie itself, of course. However, Batman Forever (1995) star Val Kilmer decided to bail on another trip to Gotham City when an opportunity to work with Marlon Brando became available. As noted by late director Joel Schumacher, that project was The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996), a notorious critical and commercial failure. Other sources say Kilmer’s starring role in The Saint (1997) was to blame.

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

Arnold Schwarzenegger was ‘in tents’

Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney standing with their costumes from 'Batman and Robin'
Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney. (Photo Credit: MIKE NELSON / AFP / Getty Images)

Mr. Freeze was Arnold Schwarzenegger like you’ve never seen him before. With media interest in Batman at a fever pitch, Warner Bros. was on the lookout for snappers at all times. Extreme measures needed to be taken. As producer Peter MacGregor Scott told The Hollywood Reporter, “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. Joel Schumacher had a tight deadline for a multi-million dollar picture. Schwarzenegger was contracted for 12 hours a day and spent four of those in makeup. As well, the pressure was coming from many other places. Toy companies, for example…

Wonderful toys

Batman mascot standing outside of a Toys 'R' Us store
Batman mascot at the Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square, 2018. (Photo Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / Getty Images)

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

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

Frosty and Cindy

Portrait of Elle Macpherson
Elle Macpherson. (Photo Credit: lindsaylohanslastfan / Warner Bros. /  MovieStillsDB)

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, 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 & 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 in the film, Julie Madison.

Bald-faced lies

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in 'Batman & Robin'
Batman & Robin, 1997. (Photo Credit: Zamolxes / Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB)

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal makeup artist Jeff Dawn wasn’t very pleased with the Austrian Oak when he arrived on the set of Batman & Robin. The former had agreed to shave his head to save time in the chair. Unfortunately for Dawn, Schwarzenegger 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. The actor responded with “this big s**t-grin smile,” according to the makeup artist. 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.

Original Poison Ivy

Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy in 'Batman & Robin'
Batman & Robin, 1997. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB)

Uma Thurman was cast as Poison Ivy, but an earlier attempt to bring in the character was abandoned. Nicole Kidman’s Dr. Chase Meridian from Batman Forever was an original creation that wound up in the comics, but the actress was, at first, 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 Mr. Freeze. Talk of Patrick Stewart was apparently just speculation.

Batgirl’s body shaming

Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl in 'Batman & Robin'
Batman & Robin, 1997. (Photo Credit: yodasimpson / Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB)

Alicia Silverstone played Batgirl in Batman & Robin. 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. “And it came at a time in my life when people were being very unkind.” She also shared the positives, such as George Clooney’s encouragement and the relationship she had with actor Michael Gough, who portrayed Alfred Pennyworth.


Alicia Silverstone and Chris O'Donnell posing together on a red carpet
Alicia Silverstone and Chris O’Donnell at the Batman & Robin (1997) Los Angeles premiere. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

Not many people are lining up to defend Batman & 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 have been. “I felt it wasn’t tight and it wasn’t thought out,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “People just got greedy.”

Bat bladder

George Clooney as Batman in 'Batman & Robin'
Batman & Robin, 1997. (Photo Credit: Timothy2 / Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB)

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 got to do what a man’s got to do…

Batman & Robin (1997) killed a comeback for the Joker

Coolio as the Banker in 'Batman & Robin'
Batman & Robin, 1997. (Photo Credit: Zamolxes / Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB)

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

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

Go West (and throw yourself on his mercy)

Adam West sitting on a panel at ComicCon 2014
Adam West a ComicCon 2014. (Photo Credit: Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images)

Years later, George Clooney encountered 1960s 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 & Robin was meant to be lighter in tone, much like West’s version.

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 while doing publicity for The Tender Bar (2021). The film was directed by Clooney and starred former Caped Crusader, Ben Affleck.

In 2023, the actor went a step further and told Entertainment Tonight that it would take a lot for him to return to the franchise. “I do not think there’s enough drugs in the world for me to go back.”

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His comments came after he was asked about what his cameo in The Flash (2023) meant for a possible revival of his version of Batman.