Joel Schumacher on his “Dark Knight” movie that never happened, and Hollywood’s best Bruce Wayne

Joel Schumacher on his “Dark Knight” movie that never happened, and Hollywood’s best Bruce Wayne (photo)

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Earlier this week, we heard from “Trespass” director Joel Schumacher about Christopher Nolan’s record-breaking run with Batman — a character near and dear to his heart after he made not one but two films featuring the DC Comics icon.

While Schumacher’s first adventure with Batman was a box-office success — 1995’s “Batman Forever” — his 1997 “Batman & Robin” sequel didn’t fare as well. Along with near-universal negative reviews, the film failed to perform at the box office and eventually became known as the film that “killed” the Batman franchise (until Nolan came along, of course).

“Sequels are made for one reason,” Schumacher told IFC during an interview promoting his new film “Trespass” with Nicolas Cage. “Because ‘Batman Forever’ was an unexpected sensation, and the second-biggest grossing movie for the whole year, and everyone made so much money out of ‘Batman Forever,’ it was always, ‘more, more more.'”

“I broke a rule of mine, which is never to do a sequel of anything,” he said of “Batman & Robin.” “They wanted me to do sequels for ‘St. Elmo’s Fire,’ ‘Flatliners,’ ‘Lost Boys,’ and some of the other films I’ve done, and I always knew that if you get lucky, walk away. But I was shooting ‘A Time To Kill’ and the studio had been very generous to me, and much was expected of me by the toy manufacturers and the Warner Bros. stores.”

Still, Schumacher stopped short of downplaying his role in what many regard as one of the worst superhero movies ever made.

“I’m responsible for everything. I said, ‘yes’ and I took it on,” he said. “It’s not my favorite movie I’ve ever made, but I’m proud of my cast and I’m proud of all the artists who worked on it. I take full responsibility for ‘Batman & Robin.'”

Still, despite the rampant negativity surrounding Schumacher’s mainstream-friendly contributions to the live-action Batman movie-verse, there are quite a few things he’s quick to boast about regarding his Batman. For example, he knows he’s not alone in considering “Batman Forever” star Val Kilmer one of the best versions of Bruce Wayne to appear on the big screen.

“For me, Val Kilmer was the best Batman,” he said. “I thought he looked great in the costume, and I thought he brought a depth to the role. I thought the relationship between Val and Nicole Kidman was very sexy. Jim Carrey, of course, was the perfect Riddler. And then I had the great Tommy Lee Jones and a lot of other great people are in that movie.”

Schumacher also revealed that, if he’d gotten his way, his second Batman film would have been more in line with Nolan’s “Dark Knight” instead of the studio-friendly “Batman & Robin.”

“I think I’m the most envious of Chris Nolan because he got to do ‘The Dark Knight’ — and that’s the one I begged to do as my second Batman film,” he said. “I wanted to do a whole other thing, because we had kind of re-invented franchise with Val as Batman and it was a very young, sexy, and much less expensive movie. We brought in Robin and I wanted to make ‘The Dark Knight’ desperately, but the studio didn’t want that and it’s their money and they’re my bosses.”

What do you think Schumacher’s version of “The Dark Knight” would’ve been like? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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