Word to the wise: don’t play a ‘How Mr. Freeze puns are there in Batman & Robin?’ drinking game. There’s about fifty offenses of play-on-words in the notoriously awful 1997 film that just about wasted the talents of Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney. But for one actor, the heat was most definitely on thanks to his icy role.
George Clooney and much of those involved in Batman & Robin still get asked about the most kicked-at Dark Knight film even today. Earlier in 2020, the movie’s screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman (who went on to win an Oscar for his A Beautiful Mind screenplay), apologized for the movie all these years later. And Clooney has been sent to the cooler a number of times while promoting his latest film The Midnight Sky. Here’s the latest that had the actor/director reveal Arnold Schwarzenegger’s big Batman & Robin paycheck:
You’ve got to remember at that point I was just an actor getting an acting job. I wasn’t the guy who could green light a movie. They paid Arnold $25 million to be in it, they paid me like one. And we never even worked together, we never saw each other
Whoa! $25 million to be blue and tell Batman to freeze in hell isn’t too bad at all. At the time, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the main draw for Batman & Robin just following his still iconic ‘90s roles in Last Action Hero, True Lies and Junior. The Warner Bros franchise was in a tough spot following Val Kilmer’s exit from the role after Batman Forever, so Joel Schumacher, the other filmmakers and the studio decided to go all in with a huge ensemble, including the likes of Pulp Fiction actress Uma Thurman really going for it as Poison Ivy.
As George Clooney said on The Howard Stern Show, Arnold Schwarzenegger got paid 25 times more than he did, with his own paycheck amounting to something like $1 million. He talked about being an actor without much clout at the time, just taking a job and doing a role that he admits to being “terrible” in. Down the line, Clooney became a more powerful presence in Hollywood who produces and directs his own movies. But at the time, he couldn’t have known. The actor continued by sharing a bit of his perspective on Batman & Robin today:
It’s so bad, it actually hurts to watch. You’ll be flipping the channels and it’ll just pop up and I’ll go ‘Oh, no, no no.’ …The truth of the matter is I was bad in it.
George Clooney went on to say that it’s not just him who thinks so. He said even the late Joel Schumacher, who died back in June, admits that the movie just didn’t work. I don’t know about you, but it's movies like Batman & Robin that really makes me appreciate the other, better Batman and superhero films. It goes to show how difficult it can be and is to adapt comic book characters in a grounded and fun way to the big screen. Uma’s Poison Ivy is still iconic and, well, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze is too, in a funny kind of way.
There’s a lot more Batman to come with Ben Affleck’s version both coming back for Zack Snyder’s Justice League and alongside Michael Keaton's Caped Crusader for The Flash in November 2022. And Robert Pattinson will portray a new, more noir Batman come March 4, 2022. Check out DC’s full lineup here on CinemaBlend.