Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Agreed To Star In Batman & Robin

Mr. Freeze Batman Robin

Plenty of bad movies eventually undergo a reappraisal from fans once enough time has passed and they can be viewed through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, but it seems very unlikely that’ll ever happen to Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin.

Just eight years after Tim Burton’s superhero classic, the franchise imploded following George Clooney’s disastrously brief stint under the cape and cowl, and it’s still regarded as one of the worst big screen comic book adaptations ever. The leading man slates it at any opportunity he gets to this day, which is completely understandable, and he wasn’t even the first name billed in the credits.

That honor went to Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite the fact that his wisecracking Mr. Freeze doesn’t actually have a significant presence in Batman & Robin. Many names were considered for the role including Patrick Stewart, Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris before the Austrian action icon was cast, with the script being rewritten to cater to his sensibilities and penchant for one-liners.

Mr. Freeze Batman Robin

Not only was he paid a hefty $25 million salary, but Schwarzenegger was afforded all sorts of creature comforts as well. He was only on set for six weeks of the four-month shoot, so he never actually met Chris O’Donnell until the premiere, while his taste for cigars was also incorporated into the story, and Jon Bon Jovi would often come down and visit so they could light up a couple of stogies together during his downtime.

Mr. Freeze is only on screen for 23 minutes of Batman & Robin‘s total of 125, during which he delivers 27 puns. That’s more than a million dollars per minute he’s in the movie, and over $900,000 per joke. If someone offered you $25 million for a gig like that, you’d be insane to turn it down.