George Clooney said he was paid less than Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1997 film “Batman & Robin” despite getting the lead role as the superhero.
Clooney told “The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter” podcast on Monday that filming the movie taught him an important lesson in his career after he was criticized when the superhero flick flopped in reviews. The 58-year-old actor took on the coveted role as Batman in the film, but Clooney was ultimately remembered for his lackluster performance, while Schwarzenegger played the villain Mr. Freeze.
“Schwarzenegger was paid, I think, $25 million for that, which was like 20 times more than I was paid for it, and, you know, we never even worked together! We worked together one day. But I took all the heat,” Clooney said, referencing the criticism he received.
“Now, fair deal; I was playing Batman and I wasn’t good in it, and it wasn’t a good film, but what I learned from that failure was, I had to rethink how I was working,” Clooney said. “Because now I wasn’t just an actor getting a role, I was being held responsible for the film itself.”
“Batman & Robin,” directed by Joel Schumacher, brought in about $107 million in the box office domestically when the production budget amounted to $125 million, Box Office Mojo reported. The film ended up grossing $238 million worldwide.
Clooney didn't forget about his bad experience, and he said he went on to warn Ben Affleck about taking on the Batman role when the "Argo" co-producer was up for the gig.
“I actually did talk to him about it. I said, ‘Don’t do it.’” Clooney recalled in the podcast. “It was only from my experience, which is, you know.”
Affleck didn’t heed the warning and went on to play Batman in the 2016 film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and in 2017’s “Justice League.”