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Taking on the mantle of Batman isn't something anyone should take lightly. That was the advice that George Clooney had given Ben Affleck before he put on the cowl for 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In speaking to THR's Awards Chatter podcast, Clooney recalled a conversation he'd had with Affleck during the making of Argo about what it really meant to play the Caped Crusader — and that he tried to talk him out of it.
Having played Batman in 1997's Batman and Robin, which was not well-received by audiences or critics, Clooney said that he "took all the heat" for the film's bad reception.
"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 recalled. "Because now I wasn’t just an actor getting a role, I was being held responsible for the film itself."
Clooney also explained that while Arnold Schwarzenegger took home a much bigger paycheck for his pun-addled performance of Mr. Freeze, him being the face (mask?) of the film meant that he'd share in its critical and commercial failure. Which was the reason the actor gave when he advised Affleck against taking the role.
"I said, 'Don’t do it.'" Clooney said, who clarified his advice "was only from my experience, which is, you know." The Catch-22 star also added that Affleck "did great," as Gotham's protector.
Of course, Affleck's time as Batman would also prove to be short-lived. After Dawn of Justice, he'd reprise the role in 2017's Justice League, as well as a brief cameo in 2016's Suicide Squad. Affleck was in talks to write, direct and star the stand-alone The Batman, but ultimately opted out after saying he "couldn't crack" the character. Matt Reeves has since taken over as director, and the starring role is expected to be recast.
All in all, Clooney's advice really comes across as thoughtful and considerate. Though it's a bit surprising that nipples on the batsuit didn't seem to factor much into his reasoning.