‘Batman Forever’ Turns 25: The Craziest Behind-the-Scenes Stories from the Movie
Before the 2000s, only one superhero had a hit movie franchise. Of course, that changed in the late 1980s when the Dark Knight himself took theaters by storm. Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman was a box office phenomenon.
By the June 1995 release of Batman Forever, fans who loved the previous two films’ dark tone began to notice a very big shift. Director Joel Schumacher’s movie might not have been what some fans were expecting. But the behind-the-scenes stories of the movie are even crazier.
Val Kilmer didn’t speak to director Joel Schumacher for two weeks
After two movies as Batman, Michael Keaton followed Burton’s lead and stepped away from the franchise. Schumacher was tasked with recasting the role. And despite warnings about the actor’s temperament, the director hired Val Kilmer to star in Batman Forever.
”I had heard horror stories about Val and was warned not to hire him,” Schumacher once told Entertainment Weekly. ”But I have heard that about many talented people, hired them anyway, and had no problems whatsoever.”
That wasn’t the case with Kilmer. According to reports, Schumacher and his star got into “pushing match” following some alleged rude behavior on Kilmer’s part. Once Schumacher confronted him about it, Kilmer refused to talk to his director at all.
“I was forced to tell him that this would not be tolerated for one more second,” Schumacher said. “Then we had two weeks where he did not speak to me, but it was bliss.”
Tommy Lee Jones truly hated Jim Carrey during the movie’s filming
Kilmer and Schumacher may have nearly come to blows during production. But the Batman Forever star wasn’t the only actor on set who was less than thrilled to be there. Tommy Lee Jones — who plays Two-Face in the movie — notoriously hated co-star Jim Carrey, who plays the Riddler.
For years, rumors circulated about the antagonistic between the two actors. And Carrey finally owned up to it on The Howard Stern Show in 2014. According to the actor, perhaps Jones was irked by Carrey’s recent success. Carrey’s Dumb and Dumber had outperformed Jones’ sports drama Cobb in the winter of 1994.
Then one night the resentment bubbled to the surface. When Carrey discovered he was eating dinner at the same restaurant as Jones, the two actors had a conversation that put it all out there, Carrey told Stern.
I walked into a restaurant the night before our big scene in the Riddler’s lair … I went up to say hi and the blood drained from his face, in such a way that I realized that I had become the face of his pain or something. He got up, kind of shaking, and hugged me and said “I hate you. I really don’t like you.” I was like “Wow, okay. Well, what’s going on man?” And he said, “I cannot sanction your buffoonery.” He did not want to work with me at that point.
On screen, Jones and Carrey played two of Batman’s biggest villains. But it seems the two actors had their own rivalry going on behind the scenes.
‘Batman Forever’ was a major turning point for the character
Despite the on-set conflicts, Batman Forever earned $336 million at the worldwide box office. The movie was the biggest success story of the year. And so Warner Bros. and Schumacher leaned more heavily into the campy tone for the next film. Of course, that wound up being a horrible mistake.
1997’s Batman & Robin effectively killed off that initial Batman movie series. For years, Hollywood tried to figure out how best to revive the character. Eventually, Christopher Nolan’s earnest and melancholy Batman Begins put the Caped Crusader back on top. And he hasn’t left the spotlight ever since.