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George Clooney Tried to Talk Ben Affleck Out of Playing Batman

Clooney's notorious "Batman & Robin" experience led the actor to unsuccessfully try to persuade Affleck not to follow in his footsteps.

BATMAN AND ROBIN, Alicia Silverstone, George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, 1997, (c)Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

“Batman and Robin”

©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

George Clooney has long been vocal about his much derided brush with playing the Caped Crusader in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin.” From the perhaps too anatomically correct Batsuit to the movie’s wild swings in tone, the 1997 sequel to “Batman Forever” is universally regarded as a flop. (Even though it made more than $238 million at the box office, albeit against a $160 million budget.)

Clooney recently reflected again on what a disaster the movie personally was for him during a new episode of “The Howard Stern Show” (via Deadline). Clooney sat down with Stern and his co-host Robin Quivers to discuss his new film “The Midnight Sky” on Netflix, among other wide-ranging topics. Though at the time of the release of “Batman & Robin” Clooney was hot off “ER,” which he starred in through 1999, the Batman film was meant to be his big break onto the big screen.

“It’s so bad that it actually hurts to watch,” Clooney said on the show. “It physically hurts. You’ll be flipping the channels and it’ll just pop up and I’m like ‘Oh no, no, no.’”

Clooney also told Howard Stern that the post-traumatic stress of it all led him to try and talk Ben Affleck out of playing Batman. (Affleck first appeared as the Dark Knight in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and will next be seen again in Zack Snyder’s new cut of “Justice League” on HBO Max, and the upcoming Flash movie.)

“I’ve sort of had both rounds….I’ve been a big flop. I’ve bombed in things, and I’ve had big successes. That doesn’t mean they listen. Ben didn’t listen to me, and ended up doing a great job, and I was wrong,” Clooney said. “But I can only impart my wisdom from my experience. I just said, ‘Don’t have nipples on the suit.’”

Clooney said of “Batman & Robin,” “The truth of the matter is, I was bad in it,” adding, “Akiva Goldsman, who’s won the Oscar for writing [2001’s ‘A Beautiful Mind’] since then, he wrote the screenplay. It’s a terrible screenplay. He’ll tell ya. I’m terrible in it. I’ll tell ya. Joel Schumacher, who just passed away, directed it and he’d say, ‘Yeah, it didn’t work.’” Clooney added, “We all whiffed on that one.”

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