The role of the Caped Crusader must be a difficult gig to say no to, and perhaps it was George Clooney’s own bad luck that his one and only outing as the Dark Knight was the infamous Batman & Robin.
You could certainly argue that the blame for Clooney’s utterly forgettable performance lies more with director Joel Schumacher and writer Akiva Goldsman than the actor himself. And besides, it’s pretty hard to leave much of an impression when you’re sharing the spotlight with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman at their very campiest. All the same, in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Clooney was willing to shoulder some of the responsibility, recalling how the film’s failure encouraged him to pick his jobs more carefully:
“Now, fair deal: I was playing Batman and I wasn’t good in it, it wasn’t a good film. But what I learned from that failure was that I had to relearn how I was working. Now, I wasn’t just an actor getting a role, I was being held responsible for the film itself.”
As we now know, things ultimately turned out pretty well for Clooney, whose career soon took off in a big way when he started landing roles in critically acclaimed works like Out of Sight, Three Kings and O Brother, Where Art Thou.
Since the release of Batman & Robin, the part of Bruce Wayne has been played by two different actors over the course of five live-action films. And while the two Ben Affleck movies in particular proved divisive, many would agree that Schumacher’s feature remains the low bar for the franchise.
Regardless, the torch passes once more with Matt Reeves’ The Batman, and if recent reports are anything to go by, then the title role will most likely go to Robert Pattinson. If so, then we’ll find out if he can live up to some lofty expectations when the film hits theaters on July 25th, 2021.