Batman and Robin is a study in how not to make a superhero movie. For years the film has been dissected and ridiculed for it’s extremely flimsy look and terrible story. Considering it was George Clooney’s first major movie role, there was inflated expectation on the film. At the end it flopped, hard, but despite the flop, Clooney is a much bigger star now. And the actor says the horrible reaction towards the late 90s film was the reason for him becoming a better movie star.
In the late 80s Michael Keaton was hired to play the iconic DC hero in a live-action adaptation. With Tim Burton sitting on the director’s chair, the film was a massive success and so was the sequel. In the third movie Van Kilmer took over the Gotham’s knight role to moderate success and in the fourth movie Warner Bros. decided to go with Clooney who was coming off a successful stint on the hit TV show ER.
George Clooney was a young actor back then. He was making $1 million per episode working in the ER and decided to take a jump into the cinematic world. At that time George was not thinking about the consequences of doing a movie just because he was offered one. The actor did not do his home work and after Batman and Robin flopped, he realized, the blame would fall on his lap no matter his own performance in the movie.
Learning from Failure – Batman and Robin Taught a Valuable Lesson to George Clooney
TV and movie industry were not as blurred back in the 90s, as they are today. There were rarely any case of TV stars making it on the silver screen over a sustained period of time. But George Clooney had the acting chops, looks, and an adoring fanbase to make it seem as though he was destined for success on the large screen.
Then came Batman and Robin offer and George thought it was a movie offer, he was going to take it. The script did not matter, Batman was a cool character and he wanted to play the Dark Knight in a movie. Well, it is safe to say the film did not work out. Panned by the critics and ridiculed by the fans, George understood finally what entailed becoming a star in Hollywood.
George Clooney said while speaking with BAFTA’s Life in Pictures, “It had been a year and I’d gotten killed for doing Batman and Robin. I got Batman and Robin and I understood for the first time, because quite honestly when I got Batman and Robin, I was just an actor getting an acting job. And I was excited to play Batman. What I realized after that was that I was going to be held responsible for the movie itself, not just for my performance or what I was doing. And so I knew that I needed to focus on better scripts. The scripts was the most important thing. You can’t make a good film out of a bad script. It’s impossible.”
The actor learned a valuable lesson that all performers must learn, script is important more than most other things. As the actor understood bad script cannot be made into a good movie. That lesson allowed him to understand, to be a superstar getting a job is not enough, having good people and good script is the most important thing.
Well, the actor learned things the hard way and that led him to Out of Sight, produced by Danny DeVito. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, who was also having a hard time in Hollywood, the duo struck gold with Out of Sight. While the movie did not make much at the box office, it was a critical success and allowed Steven and George Clooney to explore other avenues.
The actor-director duo came back together for the Ocean’s series and George has gone on to become one of the greatest actors in Hollywood. So, there is some truth to the idea that Batman and Robin flop made him a bigger movie star.
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