“I’m tired of defending overpaid, overprivileged actors”: Val Kilmer’s Prickly Attitude Was Too Much to Bear for 1 Late Director Who Could No Longer Stand Him

Alongside ‘Batman Forever’ director who called out Val Kilmer’s unbearable behavior, several other colleagues of Kilmer highlighted his prickly attitude.

Val Kilmer Batman and Manbat


  • Ever since he gained popularity for his appearance in Top Secret! (1984), Val Kilmer created a reputation for being difficult to work with.
  • Val Kilmer's prickly attitude and unprofessional on-set behavior thus led to a falling out with his Batman Forever director.
  • Several other industry professionals have pointed out Val Kilmer's entitled behavior that caused difficulties for them to work with him.
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When it was announced that despite playing the Caped Crusader in Joel Schumacher’s 1996 epic Batman Forever, Val Kilmer won’t return for the sequel Batman & Robin, it was a sure sign that something had gone amiss for the actor. Kilmer had solidified his reputation for being difficult to work with, ever since his rise to fame in the comedy Top Secret! (1984).

Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne aka Batman
Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne in Batman Forever (1996) | Warner Bros.

Therefore, despite his iconic portrayal of Batman in the 1996 movie, Joel Schumacher claimed that Val Kilmer’s behind-the-scenes behavior was reportedly far from heroic. Having constant fallout with the filmmaker while working on the DC project, Kilmer was thus called out by Schumacher, for his prickly attitude and childish behavior.

Val Kilmer’s Prickly Attitude Led to a Falling Out with Joel Schumacher

Val Kilmer, known for his iconic roles in Top Gun and Batman Forever, has had a reputation for being difficult to work with. His entitled behavior and prickly attitude have thus led to a number of public feuds and controversies throughout his career. This particular reputation of Kilmer even led to a number of directors and actors refusing to work with him, despite his talent as an actor.


One filmmaker in particular who had a difficult time with Val Kilmer and publicly called out the actor was his Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher. Working with the actor in his 1996 DC movie, Schumacher suffered miserably while dealing with Kilmer’s entitled behavior and unbearable attitude, which even led the filmmaker to dismiss Kilmer from returning to Batman & Robin.

Joel Schumacher. | Credit: Kasper2006/Wikimedia Commons.
Filmmaker Joel Schumacher | Credit: Kasper2006/Wikimedia Commons

Dubbing Val Kilmer “psychotic” during an interview via Independent, Joel Schumacher revealed why he never invited the actor back for his sequel, Batman & Robin, despite his flawless performance in the prequel. Revealing that his relationship with Kilmer had once become so bad on the set that they stopped talking, Schumacher admitted that he never wanted to reunite with Kilmer.

I’m tired of defending overpaid, overprivileged actors. I pray I don’t work with them again.

Well, this isn’t the only time Joel Schumacher has called out Val Kilmer. According to reports, the filmmaker was one among the Hollywood professionals who provided their testimonials on why they refused to work with Kilmer.


Testimonials from Val Kilmer’s Colleagues Highlight His Unbearable Attitude

Despite solidifying his reputation as a versatile leading man playing parts in The Doors (1991) and Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993), Val Kilmer often lost incredible opportunities for his on-set behavior. Take for example when the actor lost Batman & Robin, despite proving his commercial viability in the $336M-grossing Batman Forever (via The Numbers).

Gradually, with his growing reputation as Mr. Unpopular in Hollywood, industry professionals began refusing to work with Val Kilmer no matter how big the box office payback was. Soon, as per EW reports, several filmmakers offered their reasons why they loathed working with Kilmer.

Val would arrive, and an argument would happen. I don’t like Val Kilmer, I don’t like his work ethic, and I don’t want to be associated with him ever again. John Frankenheimer reported.

Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in Top Gun
Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in Top Gun | Paramount Pictures

There’s a dark side to Val that I don’t feel comfortable talking about. [We] were deep in conversation about Doc Holliday, and this stand-in brought over a very colorful sort of locust and said, ‘Look what I found!’ I looked up and said, ‘Hey, that’s pretty good,’ and Val, without saying a word, grabbed the locust from the guy and ate it. And it was big. He said to me, ‘As you know, I have a reputation for being difficult. But only with stupid people.’ Kevin Jarre shared.

Therein, during one of such testimonials, Joel Schumacher once again dubbed his one-time collaborator “childish and impossible” and shared an anecdote. Further addressing the reports behind Kilmer’s absence from Batman & Robin, Schumacher offered a laid-back response.

Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

[We] had a physical pushing match. [Kilmer] was being irrational and ballistic with the first AD, the cameraman, the costume people. He was badly behaved, he was rude and inappropriate. 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… [for Batman & Robin] he sort of quit, we sort of fired him. It probably depends on who’s telling the story.

As Val Kilmer’s behavior grew into a problem that affected several industry professionals, people started calling out the actor’s unprofessional conduct which created a toxic and challenging work environment for others to do their jobs.


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1617

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 1500 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.