“I tried to be like an actor on a soap opera”: Val Kilmer Struggled With His Batman Role for a Physically Painful Reason He Believes Affected His Performance

Val Kilmer's Batman Struggles: The physical pain from the suit that affected his Batman Forever performance.

val kilmer as batman


  • Reflecting on his Batman Forever role, Val Kilmer noted how he agreed on the part without reading the script or knowing the director.
  • Despite his initial excitement to play the Caped Crusader, Val Kilmer admitted that his experience was plagued by physical pain.
  • The significant challenges due to the Batman suit, during filming, apparently affected Kilmer's performance in the film.
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With blockbusters like Top Gun (1986) and Tombstone (1993) under his belt, when Val Kilmer was approached with the offer to play the fan-favorite character Batman in Joel Schumacher’s 1995 movie Batman Forever, the actor accepted the part without even reading the script. Eventually, this rash decision and his overexcitment ended up turning into a disappointing experience for Kilmer.

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

Despite the 1995 DC blockbuster making him globally famous, Val Kilmer suffered significant challenges during his tenure as Batman that eventually affected his performance. Candidly discussing the hurdles he encountered while embodying the iconic superhero, Kilmer revealed his Batman Forever experience in his autobiographical documentary from Amazon Prime and A24 Films, Val.

Val Kilmer’s Physical Struggles While Playing the Caped Crusader

Reminiscing about his career and life in his autobiographical documentary Val, from Amazon Studios and A24 Films via THR, Val Kilmer reflected upon the DC role that catapulted him to global fame. Addressing his part as the Caped Crusader in Joel Schumacher’s 1995 movie Batman Forever, Kilmer recalled replacing Michael Keaton.


However, while the actor was excited to play the role that is often considered every guy’s dream character, Val Kilmer noted suffering excruciatingly, due to the uncomfortable Batman suit. Despite hopping onto the project without reading the script or even knowing who the director was, Kilmer’s excitement subsided once he donned the suit.

Batman Forever
Val Kilmer in his Batsuit in Batman Forever (1995) | Warner Bros

Whatever boyhood excitement I had was crushed by the reality of the Batsuit. Yes, every boy wants to be Batman. They actually want to be him… not necessarily play him in a movie.

I couldn’t hear anything and after a while people stopped talking to me.

Admitting to be envious of his co-stars Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey, who were able to flex their acting muscles, Val Kilmer revealed that the Batsuit was so restrictive that he felt completely isolated in it. Although he came up with a solution to his issue, Kilmer noted how it affected his performance in the DC blockbuster.

Val Kilmer’s Batman Suit Affected His Performance in Batman Forever

According to Val Kilmer, he was not only miserable under the heavy and rigid Batsuit but also left temporarily deaf by the restrictive headgear. Therefore, failing to move properly or even hear his co-stars’ dialogues, Kilmer mentioned how his portrayal of Batman was plagued by the coveted superhero outfit.


As a solution to his problem, Val Kilmer admitted coming up with the bizarre posture of standing with his arms on his hips. During several scenes with Nicole Kidman’s character Dr. Chase Meridian, Kilmer noted standing in a particular posture. Eventually, approaching the end of his discussion, the actor admitted how the suit significantly affected his performance.

Val Kilmer and Nicole Kidman in Batman Forever
Val Kilmer and Nicole Kidman in Batman Forever | Warner Bros

I think it made no difference what I was doing. I tried to be like an actor on a soap opera. When I would turn to Nicole… I couldn’t count how many times I put my hands on my hips.

Therefore, after realizing the challenges associated with the role, Val Kilmer refused to play the superhero for a second time. Although according to Batman Forever filmmaker Joel Schumacher, he refused to work with Kilmer after the actor cemented his reputation for being difficult to work with, the actor noted turning down future DC movies in favor of playing the title role in The Saint.

Batman Forever is available on Max. 


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1706

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1600 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.