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Batman & Robin: Alicia Silverstone Was Fat-Shamed During Production

by  in Movie News Comment
Batman & Robin: Alicia Silverstone Was Fat-Shamed During Production

Joel Schaumacher’s Batman & Robin has been criticized a lot over the past two decades, but not even the harshest internet commenters would put Alicia Silvertone’s appearance on their hit list. The infamous Batman & Robin‘s 20th anniversary is here and, in honor of that milestone, The Hollywood Reporter has released a detailed oral history of the film that also examines some of the ridicule that Silverstone — who was only 20 by the time the film premiered — faced when she was cast as Batgirl.

Following her presentation at the 1996 Academy Awards, the media began to criticize her weight. An Entertainment Weekly article at the time said, “Fashion critics thought she looked more Babe than babe.” Silverstone herself recalled being chased down by papparazzi chanting “Fat Girl” to the Batman theme song at her.

RELATED: Alicia Silverstone Thinks She’d Be A Better Batgirl Now

The negative attention spread beyond the press. “I heard that she was in the costume department being synched into a corset to fit into what they were going to try to do the costume,” storyboard artist Time Burgard recalled. “So I did a cartoon of what I thought that looked like… I did it as a movie poster, Clueless 2: The Casting of Batgirl. It was a private joke, just the guys in the art department.”

However, a production assistant made a copy of it, and more than just the art department saw it. “He put it up by his station, where of course Bob Ringwood, the costume designer, saw it — and had a shit fit. I think the quote was, ‘She is trying so hard! Luckily for me, I never signed it. So I got to keep working.”

RELATED: Batman & Robin’s Joel Schumacher Wanted to Make an Arkham Asylum Film

Meanwhile, Schumacher and Silverstone’s spokesperson defended Silverstone to the press. According to Schumacher, his goal was for Silverstone’s Barbara to be more than “just this little blonde girl in a boarding school costume.” He went on to explain Gotham’s underground motorcycle racing scene in the film, saying, “[It was] so that she would have a secret life, and she and Robin would have more in common and be very competitive with each other… Then I thought, why not do a set piece and make it fun for the audience? Then we made up groups. I think there was a Clockwork Orange group and there were British dandies and powdered wigs. There were all kinds of groups of they all had their own identities.”

Justice League, the next film to feature Batman, arrives November 17 and stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta and J. K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.

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