George Clooney Advised Ben Affleck Not to Play Batman

The actor, who played the Dark Knight in 'Batman & Robin,' recalls giving Affleck simple advice: "Don't do it."

It’s almost impossible to get away from playing the world’s greatest detective without learning a thing or two.

Take George Clooney, for example. As the actor-producer-director explained on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, his experience on 1997’s Batman & Robin was one that changed his entire approach to his career and taught him an important lesson about how the movie industry works.

“[Arnold] 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 when remembering the critical drubbing the movie 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. Because now I wasn’t just an actor getting a role, I was being held responsible for the film itself.”

Years later, Clooney had the opportunity to work with Ben Affleck on Argo, which Clooney produced. The resulting relationship meant that the former Bruce Wayne had an opportunity to give some advice to the future Bruce Wayne before Affleck decided to play the Dark Knight in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. As it turned out, his advice was very straightforward.

“I actually did talk to him about it. I said, ‘Don’t do it.’” Clooney remembered. “It was only from my experience, which is, you know …” Although Affleck didn’t take his advice, Clooney was gracious enough to add, “He did great, though.”

Read more of Clooney’s career retrospective here (or listen below, starting at around 19:00). And here is an in-depth look at Batman & Robin as Joel Schumacher and others try to explain what happened.