Even 20 years after Joel Schumacher’s final foray into the Batcave in Batman & Robin, the widely mocked 1997 sequel is still dogged by legends — among them, that Patrick Stewart was originally lined up to play Mr. Freeze.
The enduring rumor is that the classically trained star of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Fox’s X-Men films, was put on ice in favor of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Storyboard artist Tim Burgard even recalled working from an earlier script in which the villain’s lines were more “Shakespearean,” better suited for someone of Stewart’s background.
However, while reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Batman & Robin, director Joel Schumacher threw cold water on the Stewart story.
“It’s a wonderful idea. But no one ever suggested him,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I had met with Arnold several times, because he was always interested in working together.”
Schwarzenegger, an established movie star with a string of hits to his credit, was given top billing — above Batman himself, George Clooney — and a cool $25 million, which The Hollywood Reporter notes translated to about $1 million for each day he appeared on set.
The action star, who demonstrated he could chew scenery and spew icy puns with the best (or worst) of them, recently expressed a willingness to return to superhero films, saying, “I think all of those movies, if they’re written well, they’re entertaining. If it’s Batman or Batman and Robin, or X-Men or Spider-Man — all of them. If they’re written well, they have a great life. People enjoy them, and you can see the grosses that they make worldwide. So, yes, of course I would.”
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