Joel Schumacher defends Val Kilmer as the best Batman ever

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Dec 15, 2012, 11:18 AM EST

After drawing the white-hot rage of a horde of Dark Knight fanboys for his pair of neon-soaked '90s Batman flicks, you'd think Joel Schumacher would be happy to just shut up and move on.

But he just keeps giving interviews about those things, like this new one, in which he says Batman Forever star Val Kilmer was "the best Batman."

During the shooting of Batman Forever, Schumacher and Kilmer—who apparently took the role without even reading the script first—were so at odds that they often didn't speak, and rumors even emerged that they got into actual Bat-fights on set. Kilmer didn't return for a sequel—that duty instead fell to George Clooney—but after the film was finished, Schumacher had this to say to Premiere magazine:

"Val is the most psychologically troubled human being I've ever worked with. The tools I used working with him—tools of communication, of patience and understanding—were the tools I use on my 5-year-old godson. Val is not just high-strung. I think he needs help."
So, Val Kilmer was childish and high-strung and in need of psychological help? That must have been very annoying for a guy trying to direct a major Hollywood film. But now, 16 years after the flick's release, Schumacher's tune has completely changed. He worships at the altar of Val Kilmer's Batman:
"For me, Val Kilmer was the best Batman. I thought he looked great in the costume, and I thought he brought a depth to the role. I thought the relationship between Val and Nicole Kidman was very sexy. Jim Carrey, of course, was the perfect Riddler. And then I had the great Tommy Lee Jones and a lot of other great people are in that movie."
Which of those claims will make Batman geeks more furious, his claim that Kilmer was the best Batman or his claim that Carrey was the perfect Riddler? While you're pondering that, consider that Schumacher also used the same interview to express his envy of Christopher Nolan, who directed the film Schumacher himself says he wanted to make following Batman Forever:
"I think I'm the most envious of Chris Nolan because he got to do The Dark Knight—and that's the one I begged to do as my second Batman film," he said. "I wanted to do a whole other thing, because we had kind of re-invented the franchise with Val as Batman and it was a very young, sexy, and much less expensive movie. We brought in Robin and I wanted to make The Dark Knight desperately, but the studio didn't want that and it's their money and they're my bosses."

So, all that was standing between Schumacher and a Dark Knight-level triumph was Warner Bros.? It's plausible, sure, but if he'd really been given freedom to do the movie he wanted to do, could Schumacher have produced something that good?

(IFC via Comic Book Movie)