Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Clooney recalled "being held responsible for Batman & Robin"

By Alexia Fernández
May 15, 2019 04:50 PM

George Clooney is opening up about learning from his mistakes.

Before he went on to make acclaimed films like Three Kings, Out of Sight and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Catch-22 star, 58, bombed with critics and at the box office with Batman & Robin, playing the Caped Crusader for the first and only time.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg while on the Awards Chatter podcast, Clooney recalled “being held responsible for Batman & Robin.”

“[Arnold] Schwarzenegger was paid I think it was $25 million for that which was like 20 times more than I was paid for it,” he said. Despite being allegedly paid more, it was Clooney who “took all the heat” for the flop the film became.

George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger
George Clooney; Arnold Schwarzenegger
| Credit: D Dipasupil/FilmMagic; Michael Kovac/Getty

“Now, fair deal: I was playing Batman and I wasn’t good in it, it wasn’t a good film,” Clooney continued. “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.”

George Clooney
Credit: Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

That failure helped Clooney make smarter choices in what film roles he took, leading to his several Oscar nominations and successful film career.

“So the next three films I did were Three Kings, Out of Sight and O Brother, Where Art Thou? That was a very specific choice for me to find better projects,” he said.

Batman & Robin follows Batman and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) as they attempt to stop Mr. Freeze (Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) from freezing all mankind to death.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin
| Credit: Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The film was torn apart by critics upon release and currently holds a score of 10 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Clooney said he’d warned friend Ben Affleck against playing the character in 2016’s Batman v. Superman Dawn of Justice.

“I actually did talk to him about it. I said, ‘Don’t do it,’” Clooney said. “It was only from my experience, which is, you know…’”

“In a way, we had very similar careers, highs and lows, ups and downs, and that’s good, you know. No one’s trajectory is a straight line up,” Clooney added.

“He had worked his way back from actor jail, which happens when I do Batman & Robin and he does Gigli, so it’s that, he gets to that moment, and I think, ‘Don’t do something they can fire back off at you.’ He did great, though.”

In 2016, Warner Bros. announced Affleck would not only reprise his role as the superhero in a new standalone project but that he would also write and direct it. He has since dropped out of the movie altogether.