Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin stood on thin ice from the moment it entered theaters. No wonder it's long been considered one of the worst movies ever made. From the wooden acting to the bonkers set design, the film is regarded as a wall-to-wall mess. But as bad as the film is perceived, everything going on behind the scenes of Batman & Robin was even crazier. The ridiculous stories from the set of Batman & Robin showcase what it takes to run a beloved property into the ground.
When Schumacher made Batman Forever, he wasn't able to match the cool of the first two Tim Burton films, but he made something watchable, with style all its own. (Even if the two A-list villains didn't exactly get along.) With Batman & Robin, the director was working under massive time constraints and with some of the worst superhero performances ever recorded. It’s no wonder this is considered the worst Batman movie ever made.
If you repressed all memory of this big budget stinker, it's time to learn what made the filming of Batman & Robin such a nightmare.
Joel Schumacher Was In Over His Head
Rather than place the blame on someone else, or get angry at people for not liking his Batman movie, Joel Schumacher constantly takes the blame for the quality of Batman & Robin.
Whenever he's asked, he admits to being in over his head. He told Variety:
They immediately wanted a sequel, but I said yes. There’s nobody else to blame but me. I could have said, "No, I’m not going to do it." I just hope whenever I see a list of the worst movies ever made, we’re not on it. I didn’t do a good job. George [Clooney] did. Chris [O’Donnell] did. Uma [Thurman] is brilliant in it. Arnold is Arnold.
Chris O'Donnell And Arnold Schwarzenegger Never Filmed A Scene Together
Something many people don't know about major motion pictures is there are often multiple teams working on a single film. While the film's director, in this case, Joel Schumacher, is working with the first unit, a second unit director will be taking care of crowd scenes, exteriors, and "less important" shots. Many people who worked on Batman & Robin said they were making the movie on a short timetable, and, to get all the shots they needed, the actors were split up between units to film.
In a making-of documentary, Chris O'Donnell said he can't remember filming many of the scenes he was in because his stunt double was used. Regarding his scenes with Arnold Schwarzenegger, O'Donnell said, “I was in a lot of scenes with Mr. Freeze, but I didn’t work a single day with Arnold. Not a single day."
Schwarzenegeger Was Hiding A Heart Surgery During The Film's Press Run
In his autobiography, Total Recall, Schwarzenegger reveals that he scheduled heart surgery in between finishing his work on the film and beginning his promotional duties. He didn't want anyone, including his wife, to know about the surgery, and goes on to say that he is an "expert" in secrecy.
Why would he do something like this? At the time of filming Batman & Robin, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a huge star, even bigger than Clooney, who was best known for E.R. at that point. Schwarzenegger likely felt he was carrying the entire project on his shoulders, so to make sure everything looked like it was running smoothly, he hid his medical issues.
It Took Forever To Get Schwarzenegger Into Costume
Many consider Arnold Schwarzenegger great in Batman & Robin. Instead of snoozing his way through the movie and collecting his check, Schwarzenegger chews the scenery up like it's made of cotton candy. Unfortunately, it took 11 people four hours every morning to put Arnold Schwarzenegger into his costume.
No one says how long it took to get him out of costume, but the time spent was likely comparable. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but the star had a hard 12-hour rule written into his contract that wouldn't allow him to stay on set any longer. That didn't give him a lot of time to film.
Remember, Schwarzenegger got paid one million dollars a day for his work on the film, even if the cameras were only rolling for a couple of hours.