It is well known that actors and directors have complex personalities. Since the invention of cinema, audiences have been treated to a wide variety of rivalries. And in some cases, examples of intense hatred between the two sets of people are more famous than any other controversies. These people are never afraid to voice their opinions, either on the sets or after a film’s release. One such incident happened on the set of the contentious 1995 film, Batman Forever, starring Val Kilmer.
This collaboration between actor, Val Kilmer, and director, Joel Schumacher proved to be their first and last.
Given Kilmer’s temperamental nature and Schumacher’s reputation as an unyielding auteur, this clash was always going to occur. It somehow represented the outcome of a collision between an immovable object and an unstoppable force.
The Top Gun actor left a bad impression on Schumacher, the director of Batman Forever, because of his negative attitude. The director had grown so tired of him that he had once spilled details of annoying behind-the-scenes activities.
Joel Schumacher And Val Kilmer’s On-Set Conflict
One of the most famous stories in Hollywood was the argument that occurred between Joel Schumacher and Val Kilmer while they were filming Batman Forever. Tensions were high on the set because Kilmer was at the height of his career and Schumacher wanted to make his mark on the ‘Batman’ film series.
The 63-year-old actor and the late filmmaker collaborated on Batman Forever in 1995. The pair had the potential to become quite well-known together, which they eventually did—but not in a good way. It became evident that they were not enjoying each other’s company after they worked on this project for some time.
The latter disclosed how the two ultimately got into a “physical pushing match” in 1996 after becoming embroiled in another behind-the-scenes’ conflict.
Schumacher admitted to EW at the time that Kilmer was to blame for the tension on the set because of his infamously bad attitude, which irritated him.
“He [Val Kilmer] was being irrational and ballistic with the first AD, the cameraman, the costume people. He was badly behaved, he was rude and inappropriate.”
The late filmmaker, who died in 2020, eventually lost it due to Kilmer’s persistent behavior and said:
“I was forced to tell him that this would not be tolerated for one more second. Then we had two weeks where he did not speak to me, but it was bliss.”
The filmmaker even expressed his thoughts on working with the Heat actor once again.
Joel Schumacher Decided Not to Work With Val Kilmer Again
Joel Schumacher was relieved because he had been treated to weeks of silence from the 63-year-old actor. However, in a different interview, he spoke candidly about not wanting to collaborate with him once again on any project.
“I’m tired of defending overpaid, overprivileged actors. I pray I don’t work with (Kilmer and Tommy Lee Jones Jones) again. It seems like three’s a crowd indeed.”
In the end, nobody benefited from the conflict between Schumacher and Val Kilmer. Many critics criticized Batman Forever for having a messy plot and shoddy acting, and the movie received mixed reviews as a result.
Since then, Kilmer has also admitted that he regretted his actions on the set and wished that he had been more receptive to Schumacher’s vision for the movie.
What can we take away from this, then?
It serves as a reminder that Hollywood productions, no matter how big they are, can still have interpersonal issues. Even the most talented directors and actors must occasionally learn to rely on each other’s judgment and work together to accomplish a shared goal. If not, the outcome might be a disorganized, forgettable film, that leaves everyone unsatisfied.
In the end, the infamous beef between Schumacher and Kilmer will always have a negative impact on Batman Forever’s legacy. However, perhaps, just perhaps, we can take advantage of this as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and work toward improved collaboration and communication in our own endeavors.