Former Batman Director Says Val Kilmer’s The Best Dark Knight

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It’s difficult to find a Batman fan who’s going to care about Joel Schumacher’s opinions. The director of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin is credited with running the franchise into the ground with such ferocity that it took nearly a decade, a complete reboot and Christopher Nolan to revive it. His bad reputation is well earned, as despite making some minor classics like The Lost Boys, Flatliners and Falling Down, he decided to go all-in on camp with the Caped Crusader, with the results having aged terribly over the years.

Now, in a new interview with Vulture, he’s talked about his time with the films and his thoughts on them more than two decades later. And, after everything that’s come since, he’s named Val Kilmer as his favorite Batman. That’s despite Kilmer’s behaviour on set being described as “psychotic,” with Entertainment Weekly reporting that he demanded the crew address him as “Mr. Kilmer,” spent a lot of time on set swaddled in blankets, insisted on muttering his lines under his breath and even stubbed a cigarette out on a cameraman’s face.

The interviewer compares Kilmer’s behavior on the set of Batman Forever to his similarly bizarre decisions on The Island of Doctor Moreau (which he left Batman & Robin for), with Schumacher saying in response:

“I was not there. I think Richard Stanley told me he had a nervous breakdown. I do know Marlon Brando threw Val’s cell phone in the bushes and said, “Young man, don’t confuse your ego with the size of your salary, ever.” Here’s the difference between Val Kilmer and Tommy Lee Jones. I don’t care what state Tommy is in emotionally, when that camera rolls, there is no bad take. Val is a different story.”

Being told off about being egotistical on set by Marlon Brando of all people is quite the achievement. But despite all this, Schumacher concludes the following:

“But he was a fabulous Batman.”

Well, he was alright I guess. Shame about the rest of the movie, though.