George Clooney continues to troll himself and his time as the Caped Crusader back when he took on the role in 1997’s ill-fated Batman & Robin. The Andy Muschietti-directed The Flash movie is setting up a Batman meet-up with Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck both reprising the role as the film reportedly dives into some multiverse storytelling. So why isn’t George Clooney’s Batman involved? The actor jokingly explains why he likely wasn’t asked back.
Clooney was speaking with “Variety” to promote his latest directorial gig, The Tender Bar, which, oddly enough, stars Ben Affleck. Clooney did reveal that he wasn’t asked to return for The Flash and then, in true George Clooney fashion, he joked about how it was probably the best decision given the quality of Batman & Robin. The actor said, “They didn’t ask me. When you destroy a franchise the way I did, usually they look the other way…I did have great nipples. It was winter all the time.” It’s nice to see that he still has a good sense of humor about his time donning the cape and cowl.
Batman & Robin was directed by the late Joel Schumacher who brought the franchise back to life a bit with 1995’s Batman Forever. That film was much lighter than 1992’s Batman Returns and the end result was better box office on top of merchandising sales that went through the roof. Warner Bros. wanted to go even more kid-friendly with Batman & Robin and Schumacher even admitted that he felt he was making a film that was intended to sell toys. Although the movie has a bit of a cult following now, at the time of its release the film was devoured by critics and it became the lowest-grossing Batman film to date with a final take of $107.3 million at the domestic box office on a $125 million budget. The film also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, and Michael Gough.
Clooney acknowledged in a previous interview that he was strictly an actor in Batman & Robin and was not in a position at the time to do anything other than put on the costume and do what producers told him to do:
“I couldn’t have done that one differently. It’s a big machine, that thing. You have to remember at that point, I was just an actor getting an acting job. I wasn’t the guy who could greenlight a movie… [Arnold Schwarzenegger and I] never even saw each other. It’s a big, monster machine, and I just sort of jumped in and did what they said… The truth of the matter is, I was bad in it. Akiva Goldsman – who’s won the Oscar for writing since then – he wrote the screenplay. And it’s a terrible screenplay, he’ll tell you. I’m terrible in it, I’ll tell you. Joel Schumacher, who just passed away, directed it, and he’d say, ‘Yeah, it didn’t work.’ We all whiffed on that one.”
The failure of Batman & Robin kept the character off of the big screen until Christopher Nolan successfully rebooted the brand with 2005’s Batman Begins. Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy brought big box office and prestige back to the franchise and seemingly erased the stench of Batman & Robin. As for Clooney, the actor went on to have many box office and critical successes and he became an accomplished director in his own right. He would eventually win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Syriana and quickly solidified him as one of the better actors of his generation. He doesn’t need a cameo in The Flash for validation but it is nice to see that he can still poke fun at himself about his time as Batman.
Would YOU have liked George Clooney’s Batman to have returned in The Flash?