While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, the actor behind Bruce Wayne in 1997’s Batman & Robin revealed he did give some words of wisdom to Affleck when the two worked together on Argo before Affleck would take on The Dark Knight in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Clooney was a producer on Argo.)
“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… He did great, though.”
The two-time Oscar winner was speaking from his own experience in Batman & Robin, which starred Chris O’Donnell as Robin, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy.
“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,” Clooney recalled. “We worked together one day. But I took all the heat. 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. Because now I wasn’t just an actor getting a role, I was being held responsible for the film itself.”
Affleck, who obviously didn’t take Clooney’s advice, could probably speak to this same experience, given the poor critical and fan response to his casting as Batman — and the even worse public scrutiny after the reception to Batman v Superman and Justice League.
Affleck confirmed in February that he will not be returning to the role of Batman for DC’s future film slate, which includes The Batman.
“I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter but just couldn’t come up with a version — I couldn’t crack it and so I thought it’s time for someone else to take a shot at it,” he told Jimmy Kimmel. “They got some really good people so I’m excited.”