Variety caught up with Joel Schumacher while the director was at the Hamptons Film Festival to accept a lifetime achievement award. For comic book fans, Schumacher will always be remembered as the man who put nipples on the Batsuit in 1995’s Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman & Robin. The interview reveals that Schumacher is quite aware of that.
“I think that will be on my gravestone,” Schumacher said of the controversial nipples. “It’s how I’ll be remembered.”
Beyond the nipple talk, the Q&A session allowed Schumacher to reflect on his two installments in the Batman franchise — specifically in comparison to Tim Burton’s.
“I was never able to go into the darkness,” Schumacher said. “Because of Batman Returns, families had objected that it was too adult, which is no criticism of Tim Burton’s. When they offered it to me, I went to Tim and said, ‘This is your franchise and they want me to do it. I won’t do it if you don’t want me to.’ He said, ‘Take it, please! I can’t do another one.’ Even though Batman Forever is really sexy, it was a movie the whole family could see.”
Batman Forever became a worldwide hit, which led to a sequel being greenlit before Schumacher was ready. “They immediately wanted a sequel, but I said yes. There’s nobody else to blame [for Batman & Robin’s failure] but me. I could have said, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’ I just hope whenever I see a list of the worst movies ever made, we’re not on it. I didn’t do a good job. George did. Chris [O’Donnell] did. Uma [Thurman] is brilliant in it. Arnold is Arnold.”
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