“Has he gone nutty?”: Val Kilmer Had Predicted George Clooney’s Batman Fate Long Before Even the Movie Released After His Own Experience

Val Kilmer made the right call after WB rushed production on George Clooney's Batman & Robin.

Val Kilmer Batman and George Clooney Batman

SUMMARY

  • Val Kilmer played Batman in Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever.
  • With the success of the film, the studio fastracked a sequel Batman & Robin and rushed into pre-production mode without informing Kilmer.
  • While George Clooney stepped in after Kilmer's departure, Batman & Robin turned out to be a huge disaster.
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Val Kilmer’s Hollywood career was at its peak during the 80s and 90s racking up impressive films and interesting roles that showed his acting prowess. He started off playing comic roles in films like Top Secret! and Real Genius. His fame catapulted after his screen-stealing role as Iceman in Top Gun. The 90s saw the actor receiving attention for his acting and starring in successful blockbusters.

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Val Kilmer as Batman in Batman Forever | Warner Bros Pictures
Val Kilmer as Batman in Batman Forever | Warner Bros Pictures

After impressing critics and audiences with his incredible performances in The Doors, Heat, and Tombstone, Kilmer entered the superhero world as Batman in 1995’s Batman Forever. The film was a success and he planned to return for a sequel. However, Kilmer refused to return for Batman & Robin as he knew it was doomed after witnessing its rushed pre-production.

Val Kilmer Backed Out From Batman & Robin Due to Its Rushed Production

Georege Clooney's Batman & Robin turned out to be an epic diaster | Warner Bros Pictures
George Clooney’s Batman & Robin turned out to be an epic disaster | Warner Bros Pictures

After Michael Keaton and Tim Burton’s Batman films, Warner Bros rebooted the IP with 1995’s Batman Forever. Val Kilmer starred as Batman along with a slew of talented actors like Jim Carrey. Tommy Lee Jones and Nicole Kidman playing iconic DC characters The Riddler, Harvey Dent, and Chase Meridian.

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The film was directed by Joel Schumacher and was a drastic departure from the tone of the Burton films, going for a more campy and fun tone. Batman Forever was a success grossing $336 million over a $100 million budget (via Box Office Mojo). It seems the studio and Schumacher got swept up by its success, and they fast-tracked a sequel much sooner than the usual mandate which was a gap of two years.

In an interview with SplicedWire, the actor revealed that he was not informed about the preponement of the sequel’s shooting and he was already committed to doing The Saint. When he started questioning the decision, WB execs were not gracious and Schumacher got angry with Kilmer and started bad-mouthing him.

The actor would have done the film if the studio hadn’t rushed its production. Ultimately, he did not reprise his Batman role for Batman & Robin, which everyone thought was a stupid decision at the time. Kilmer said,

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(At the time) it was, ‘What? Has he gone nutty? Why isn’t he doing it?’ Once it was seen, I was redeemed. But actually, I would have done it but they rushed it. They always wait two years, but that time they went right into production.

They didn’t even bother calling my agent to tell us, and since it’s usually two years, I had just said yes to “The Saint.” They weren’t very gracious. Joel got all nutty. He somehow thought what I was doing had to do with how he was perceived as a director. He started saying bad things about me, which is just stupid.

Schumacher and the studio ended up casting George Clooney as Batman but unfortunately, the rushed production derailed the film’s quality big time. Batman & Robin was lambasted by fans and critics and is considered one of the worst superhero films ever made, only making $238 million against a $125 million budget (via Box Office Mojo). Kilmer made the right call by recognizing the doomed fate of the film from its nascent stages.

Tom Cruise Was in Tears While Shooting The Iceman Scene in Top Gun: Maverick

Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverik | Paramount Pictures
Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick | Paramount Pictures

2022’s Top Gun: Maverick saw the reunion of Tom Cruise’s Maverick and Val Kilmer’s Iceman. The two characters had become very close friends since the end of the first Top Gun and Iceman was responsible for bringing back Maverick to Top Gun for a special reason. The film saw the two characters having a heart-to-heart conversation about their legacy and the impending mission at hand.

In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Cruise stated that he was very emotional shooting the scenes with Kilmer (who has been diagnosed with throat cancer and had difficulty speaking). The two actors have been friends for many years and seeing Kilmer instantly embodying Iceman was a heartwarming moment for him. Cruise said,

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I just want to say, that was pretty emotional. I’ve known Val for decades, and for him to come back and play that character — he’s such a powerful actor that he instantly became that character again. You’re looking at Iceman. I was crying. I got emotional.

Their scene together was one of the highlights of the film, showcasing their brotherhood and camaraderie. Cruise delivered a nuanced and emotionally resonant performance in that scene and Kilmer was his usual charming self even with the illness he had. Top Gun: Maverick went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of 2022 ($1.4 billion via Box Office Mojo).

Fans can watch Kilmer as Batman in Batman Forever on Max.

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Written by Rahul Thokchom

Articles Published: 1044

Rahul Thokchom is a content writer at Fandomwire who is passionate about covering the world of pop culture and entertainment. He has a Masters Degree in English that contributes to the richness and creativity in his works.