George Clooney is back behind the director’s chair for Amazon’s “The Tender Bar,” which earned positive buzz this week after a tastemaker screening in Los Angeles. The film, based on J. R. Moehringer’s 2005 memoir of the same name, stars Tye Sheridan as a fatherless young adult who bonds with his bartender uncle (Ben Affleck) and the patrons at his bar. Variety caught up with Clooney at the event and asked him about not being invited to reprise Batman in “The Flash,” a multiverse-set tentpole that’s bringing back actors like Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton to reprise their iterations of the Caped Crusader.
“They didn’t ask me,” Clooney said. “When you destroy a franchise the way I did, usually they look the other way when ‘The Flash’ comes by.”
Clooney starred as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Joel Schumacher’s maligned 1997 film “Batman & Robin.” The cast also included Chris O’Donnell as Robin, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. Clooney took over the Caped Crusader role from Val Kilmer, who starred in Schumacher’s “Batman Forever.” Clooney’s film is widely regarded as the worst Batman film ever made. Clooney’s wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, revealed to Variety that her husband “won’t let me watch” the movie.
“There are certain films I just go, ‘I want my wife to have some respect for me,’” George Clooney said.
Clooney has never been shy about disliking “Batman & Robin” and making it clear he is well aware the film has one of the worst reputations in comic book movie history. He told Deadline in 2013 that he keeps a photo of himself as Batman “prominently displayed on his office wall, as a cautionary reminder of what can happen when you make movies solely for commercial reasons.”
The film’s performance taught him a valuable lesson about accepting roles for the remainder of his career. “I understood for the first time — because quite honestly when I got ‘Batman & 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 my performance or what I was doing.” he said. “So I knew I needed to focus on better scripts, the script was the most important thing. You can’t make a good film out of a bad script, it’s impossible. You can make a bad film out of a good script.”