George Clooney warned Ben Affleck not to play Batman

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Batman & Robin (Credit: Warner Bros)

If anyone knows the blowback from an unsuccessful jaunt as the Caped Crusader, it's George Clooney.

With nipples of rubber, he played Bruce Wayne just the once in 1997's Batman & Robin, the lurid and roundly despised instalment directed by Joel Schumacher, fast-tracked by Warner Bros after the success of Batman Forever.

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With Chris O'Donnell as Dick Grayson, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze, it was savaged by critics, and compared with its predecessors, was a disappointment at the box office.

So Clooney had some solid advice to give to Ben Affleck when he was offered the Batman role in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – don't do it.

“I actually did talk to him about it. I said, ‘Don’t do it,’” Clooney told The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast.

“It was only from my experience, which is, you know... He did great, though.”

Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman v. Superman (Credit: Warner Bros)

Clooney went on: “[Arnold] Schwarzenegger was paid, I think, $25 million for that, which was like 20 times more than I was paid for it, and, you know, we never even worked together! We worked together one day. But I took all the heat.

“Now, fair deal; I was playing Batman and I wasn’t good in it, and it wasn’t a good film, but what I learned from that failure was, I had to rethink how I was working. Because now I wasn’t just an actor getting a role, I was being held responsible for the film itself.”

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At the time, the Los Angeles Times accused the movie of 'killing' the Batman series.

Indeed, it did not return to cinemas until Christopher Nolan re-booted the franchise in 2005 with Batman Begins, in which Christian Bale rather more successfully took on the cowl.