‘Batman & Robin’ Director Joel Schumacher Finally Explains Why He Gave the Batsuit Nipples
Is it chilly in the Batcave or is it just us?
Every Batman diehard just wishes he could forget about director Joel Schumacher’s widely derided Batman & Robin, which stunk up the box office back in ’97.
But one aspect remains indelibly burned into everyone’s memory: those pointy, unmistakable rubber nipples on Batman’s and Robin’s suits.
At last, the movie’s brain trust, Joel Schumacher, told VICE what on earth he and costume designers were thinking. He said they were inspired by Ancient Greece, which explains the faintly homoerotic nature of the costumes.
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.
“Cool” is an interesting way of putting it.
What’s more, the director outright apologized for the flop and offered his heartfelt condolences to disappointed fans, crew members and actors.
“I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that,” Schumacher began.
“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.”
“There’s nobody else to blame but me. I didn’t do a good job. George did. Chris [O’Donnell] did. Uma [Thurman] is brilliant in it,” he said before adding, “Arnold is Arnold.”
He also explained why Val Kilmer left the project, which left room for George Clooney to take on a role that still haunts him.
Val Kilmer quit due to a role he got in The Island of Dr. Moreau. There had been talks about it but none of us were involved, not with Warner Bros. and certainly not with me. I talked to Val and all he kept saying is, ‘but man, it’s Marlon Brando.’ It’s not like he was on a hook and chain here, so Val went. So it was Bob Daly’s (Chief Executive at Warner Bros at the time) idea to acquire George Clooney. He was an obvious choice because he was a rising star on ER. I had a talk with him and he was like, “Alright if you do it I’ll do it.”
At least the film’s flop saved us all from a greater terror: a sequel starring Nicolas Cage
In fact, I was set to do another Batman. I even met with Nicolas Cage on the set of Face Off because I was going to have him play The Scarecrow. Frankly, I was running out of villains. At the time I was all over the world doing press, we didn’t have Skype or electronics to do remote interviews, and let me tell you, the knives were out over Batman & Robin. […] So I went on a vacation to Mexico, called my bosses. and told them that I couldn’t do another Batman. You would think they wouldn’t want me to make another.
Thankfully, Schumacher never needed to.