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George Clooney jokes he wasn't asked to reprise Batman in 'The Flash' because he destroyed the franchise

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Oct 5, 2021, 4:32 PM EDT

There's always room for more Batmen in the multiverse, but George Clooney doesn't expect he'll be asked to put the cape and cowl back on anytime soon. During a recent interview with Variety, the actor joked about why he wasn't asked to reprise his version of Batman in next year's standalone Flash movie (the long-gestating DC project is set to feature two versions of Bruce Wayne played by Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton).

“When you destroy a franchise the way I did, usually they look the other way when The Flash comes by," Clooney said in an obvious reference to his bat-nippled iteration of the Dark Knight last seen in Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin. The actor is apparently so ashamed of the polarizing 1997 film, that he hasn't let his wife — Amal Alamuddin — watch it. "There are certain films I just go, ‘I want my wife to have some respect for me,’” Clooney added.

Notorious for its cheesy dialogue (most of it coming from Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze) and cloyingly campy tone, Batman & Robin was so poorly received upon its initial release, that Warner Bros. put the entire franchise on pause for eight long years. The Caped Crusader wouldn't return to the big screen until Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins in 2005.

While speaking with David Letterman for Season 1 of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Clooney recounted how he was held at gunpoint in Sudan by a 14-year-old kid who just wanted to take his truck.

"It's not because he saw Batman?" Letterman quipped.

"No. If he'd seen Batman, he would have shot me right there, right on the spot," Clooney said to laughter from the audience. "He'd have been like, 'I know you! [mimicks gun going off] You put nippes on the Batsuit!'"

Written by Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey) and directed by Andy Muschietti (It Chapters 1 & 2), The Flash hits the big screen on Nov. 4, 2022. Ezra Miller is reprising his role as the Scarlet Speedster.