Batman & Robin was released twenty years ago this summer, marking two full decades since fans of the caped crusader had their expectations massacred and buried in a hole shaped like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Life was weird back then. George Clooney was Batman, there was a “Bat Credit Card” used for transactions, and let us not forget those goddamn bat-nipples. But who was behind these maligned atrocities? Surely it must have been the Joker or some cruel Gotham villain, right? Nope. Just Joel Schumacher.
Schumacher, who had previously crafted great films prior to this mind-numbing batshit (see The Lost Boys), single-handedly ruined a popular franchise and left Batflicks in an extended hiatus until Christopher Nolan rebooted the character in the stellar Batman Begins.
In an interview with VICE, Joel Schumacher appears to have taken the high-road, speaking candidly about the movie’s poor reception, the sequel he wanted to make, why Val Kilmer stepped away after Batman Forever, and why the Batsuit displayed hideous nipples (the nipples weren’t, like, disgusting or anything- they just looked bad on the suit).
But first, the director issued a sincere apology.
“I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.” He went on to say, “I take full responsibility. I walked into it with my eyes open and what I really feel bad about is the crew. […] I feel like their work wasn’t acknowledged like it could have been.”
Fine, Mr. Schumacher. Apology accepted.
The interview was also filled with interesting facts about the movie and the director’s plans for the franchise moving forward. He discussed meeting with Nic Cage about playing The Scarecrow in the sequel to Batman & Robin that never happened, the reason Val Kilmer quit the franchise after Batman Forever (he had the chance to work with Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau), and finally, the bat-nipples.
“By the time Batman Forever came around, rubber molding had become so much more advanced. So I said, let’s make it anatomical and gave photos of those Greek status and those incredible anatomical drawings you see in medical books. [Jose Fernandez] did the nipples and when I looked at them, I thought, that’s cool.”