"It's so bad, it actually hurts," George Clooney says of Batman & Robin, in which he starred as Batman in 1997

By Ashley Boucher
December 18, 2020 08:36 PM
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George Clooney and Ben Affleck
George Clooney and Ben Affleck
| Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

George Clooney once tried to convince Ben Affleck not to take on the role of a certain surly superhero.

Speaking with Howard Stern on Thursday, Clooney opened up about his role as Batman in 1997's Batman & Robin and admitted that he encouraged Affleck, 48, not to take on Bruce Wayne. Affleck ended up not taking Clooney's advice and played Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of JusticeSuicide Squad and Justice League.

"You did not enjoy the experience of being Batman," Stern, 66, began the conversation. "You've said that, you've said, 'Yeah, it just wasn't for me, I probably shouldn't have done it.' "

"Ben Affleck called you, I guess, and said, 'Hey, they're offering me Batman, should I take it?' You were so down on that experience, you told him don't go near it, right? Just disaster. He didn't listen to you, of course, and I thought he did a nice job," Stern added.

"Yeah he did," Clooney, 59, confirmed, adding that he thinks other actors call him for advice because he's "been around" the industry for a long time and because he's experienced being both "a big flop" and a box office success.

"I've been a big flop and I've bombed in things, and I've had big successes, and it doesn't mean they've listened — Ben didn't listen to me, and he ended up doing a great job and I was wrong," Clooney said. "But hey, I can only impart my wisdom from my experience and I just said, 'Don't have nipples on the suit.' "

batman and robin
George Clooney in Batman & Robin
| Credit: getty images
ben affleck, batman
Ben Affleck as Batman
| Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

"You gotta remember, at that point, I was just an actor getting an acting job. I wasn't the guy that could green-light a movie," the Catch-22 star and executive producer said of being Batman. "They paid Arnold [Schwarzenegger] $25 million to be in it, they paid me like, $1. And we never even worked together, we never saw each other. It's a big monster machine and I just sort of jumped in and did what they said."

Clooney added that he'll never watch Batman & Robin again, saying of the action flick, "It's so bad, it actually hurts. Like you'll be flipping the channels, and it'll just pop up and I'll be like [gasp!] 'Oh no, no, no, no.' "