It is with sad news that we announce the passing of director and costume designer Joel Schumacher. A representative announced he passed away at the age of 80 after a year-long battle with cancer. Schumacher directed films such as St. Elmo’s Fire, Flatliners, A Time To Kill, The Lost Boys, and the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera.
As DC fans, we all know the costume designer-turned-director as the man who directed two horrible 90s Batman films: Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Yes, he was the man responsible for the Bat-nipples but tried to amp-up the visuals of the film for a more comic-feel. Years later he admitted he made a mistake in his directorial choices after listening to WB execs who wanted the last two films to be geared more toward children.
“I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that,” he said in a 2017 interview with Vice.
“A lot of it was my choice. No one is responsible for my mistakes but me. I think one curveball we got was at the eleventh hour; Val Kilmer quit due to a role he got in The Island of Dr. Moreau. There had been talks about it, but none of us were involved, not with Warner Bros. and certainly not with me. I talked to Val, and all he kept saying was, ‘But man, it’s Marlon Brando.’ It’s not like he was on a hook and chain here, so Val went. So it was [then-Warners co-CEO] Bob Daly’s idea to acquire George Clooney. He was an obvious choice because he was a rising star on ER. I had a talk with him and he was like, ‘All right, if you do it, I’ll do it.’
“Then we had a desire to bring in Batgirl [played by Alicia Silverstone] to maybe get younger girls into the franchise. I mean, I had a long history of fighting for unknowns, for fighting for a little extra budget when we needed it, so nobody never, ever forced me to make a decision I didn’t approve of.”
Schumacher was born in Queens, New York on August 29th, 1939. His parents both passed away when he was young.
“By the time I was 7, I was really out on the streets,” he said in a 1999 interview with Venice magazine. “I’ve really done everything wrong that a human being can possibly do, except murder someone, thank God. Fast lane, drugs, you know. I’m a survivor of the ’60s who stayed way too long at the party.”
He has been sober since 1992. His first costume design gig was for the Tuesday Weld film Play It as It Lays in 1972. He made his directorial debut on an NBC telefilm titled Virginia Hill starring Dyan Cannon. Following the Bat-disaster, He went on to make 8MM and Flawless. His last known directing experience was in 2013 for two episodes of House of Cards.
We will miss you Mr. Schmacher. May you rest in peace with the Bat-family in the sky.