Val Kilmer Found out He Was the Next Batman in a Bat Cave
Many actors have put on the Batman suit. From Adam West to Christian Bale to George Clooney, and now Robert Pattinson, there have been many different Caped Crusaders, more than any other superhero. But only one actor has played Batman once, and that’s Val Kilmer.
Kilmer debuted as Batman in Batman Forever in 1995, just around the time he was labeled as hard to work with by everyone in Hollywood. Things didn’t go well on set, but at least Kilmer had a pretty special moment finding out he got the job.
Val Kilmer found out he was Batman in the best possible way
After Tim Burton’s success with the first Batman film in 1989 and its sequel Batman Returns in 1992, Warner Bros. asked Joel Schumacher to direct their next film. Batman worked with Robin against the new villains Harvey Dent aka Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and Edward Nygma’s The Riddler (Jim Carrey). On top of the drama already on set, Carrey and Jones did not get along.
Warner Bros. had to tell their new Caped Crusader he’d got the job before shooting, however. In his new documentary Val, per CinemaBlend, Kilmer explains he was in a bat cave when his agent called him to tell him the news.
“I was in Africa when I got a call from my agent, who had been frantically trying to get a hold of me,” Kilmer explained. “He asked me how I’d feel about being the next Batman. I was in shock and disbelief, mostly because I had just been exploring a remote bat cave and that’s why I was so hard to reach. It was a sign.”
It was probably a sign, but we don’t know if it was a good one or not. Disaster struck on set on day one of Kilmer putting on that suit.
Joel Schumacher was warned about Val Kilmer after he was cast as Batman
When Warner Bros. cast Kilmer as Batman, everyone knew that he was hard to work with. The intel had trickled down from director to director for a couple of years. Entertainment Weekly writes that “Schumacher braced himself.”
“I had heard horror stories about Val and was warned not to hire him,” he told the publication in 1996. “But I have heard that about many talented people, hired them anyway, and had no problems whatsoever.” Kilmer, Schumacher learned, was not like “many talented people.”
Only a couple of weeks into shooting, Kilmer and the director “had a physical pushing match. He was being irrational and ballistic with the first AD, the cameraman, the costume people. He was badly behaved, he was rude and inappropriate. I was forced to tell him that this would not be tolerated for one more second. Then we had two weeks where he did not speak to me, but it was bliss.”
When Warner Bros. announced Batman and Robin, Kilmer was absent. EW reported: “the utter lack of public distress on the part of Warner Bros. was a sure sign that something had gone amiss for Kilmer.”
On Kilmer’s absence, Schumacher said, “he sort of quit, we sort of fired him. It probably depends on who’s telling the story.” It was definitely no loss for him.
Michael Keaton will act as if there was never a ‘Batman Forever’ or ‘Batman and Robin’ for ‘The Flash’
The DC Extended Universe is washing away Batman Forever, along with Batman and Robin, in the upcoming film The Flash. Michael Keaton is returning as Batman; only his Batman will act as if those films never existed.
If that’s not a sign that the studio really dislikes those films, we don’t know what is. But ultimately, it gives the DCEU a “clean slate” to work with as they develop different storylines. Kilmer has to know by now that fans never liked his Batman film, not just because he starred or because of his on-set antics. It’s in with the new and out with the old. Even though they’re bringing back an older Batman, but still.