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Film

The role George Clooney played so badly that he was compelled to apologise

Cinema is a safe space wherein actors can freely express themselves, playing violent racoons, emotionally wrought ex-husbands, ass-kicking Gods and much, much more. Though whilst you can explore the boundaries of imagination, such movies and characters can still be the recipient of criticism, with actor George Clooney feeling the full force of disgruntled audiences when he played the titular caped crusader in Joel Schumacher’s glorious disaster, Batman & Robin in 1997.

Memorable for the plastic aesthetic that makes it look like an enlarged, elaborate toy set, the 1997 movie is widely considered to be a marketing exercise gone right and a cinematic venture that went badly wrong. Starring some of the most iconic actors of the era, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alicia Silverstone, Uma Thurman and Clooney, the movie defied its potential, becoming the final nail in the coffin for mainstream superhero movies in the 20th century. 

So embarrassed at the movie, Clooney took to Comic-Con in 2014 to apologise for “so terribly destroyed the part”. As reported at the time, Clooney added, “I think since Batman that I’ve been disinvited from Comic-Con for 20 years…I just met Adam West there, and I apologized to him. Sorry about the nipples on the suit. Freeze, freeze, I apologize for that”. 

The candy-coloured dreamworld created by Schumacher for Batman & Robin was a bizarre farce of a film, featuring cartoonish caricatures and surreal action set pieces so curious that it felt almost psychedelic. These days, much like any cinematic mess, the film is considered a superhero movie that is so bad it’s good, with Clooney’s hammy performance combining with  Schwarzenegger’s silly one-liners to make for quite the romp. 

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More recently, when asked whether he would appear in the upcoming DC movie, The Flash, Clooney told Variety, “When you destroy a franchise the way I did, usually they look the other way when The Flash comes by”. 

If it wasn’t already clear that Clooney was embarrassed about his time in the 1997 movie, his wife, Amal, went on to explain that he hated the film so much that, “He won’t let me watch it”. Jokingly clarifying the situation, the actor interrupts and states, “There are certain films I just go, ‘I want my wife to have some respect for me’”. 

Clearly despising his time in the superhero limelight, Clooney has since stayed away from the Marvel and DC phenomenon, despite such classic actors as Michael Keaton, Anthony Hopkins, Tilda Swinton, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley and Kurt Russell having picked up a paycheck from the lucrative franchise. 

With this being said, it’s worth considering that although Clooney denies involvement, both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire denied reprising their web-slinging roles for Spider-Man: No Way Home, and just look at what we got. Keep your eyes peeled on this one.

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