Twenty years ago, Batman & Robin hit theaters, and whether you love it, hate it, or love to hate it, the Batman flick still gets people talking. The Hollywood Reporter has released a reflective piece about the film, featuring insight from director Joel Schumacher and others. One of the myths about the film that Schumacher debunked was the long-standing rumor that Patrick Stewart was up for the role of Mr. Freeze.
If you’ve seen the flick, you no doubt can’t get the visual of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the pun-happy Batman villain threatening Gotham out of your mind. Picturing Patrick Stewart – the man who instead brought the wise and powerful Professor X to life in the X-Men franchise – is probably a hard task, and it should be. Stewart was never considered to play Mr. Freeze.
“It’s a wonderful idea. But no one ever suggested him,” Schumacher said. “I had met with Arnold several times, because he was always interested in working together.”
However, storyboard artist Tim Burgard says that an early draft of the film’s script had been written with an actor like Stewart in mind.
“All the dialogue was for Mr. Freeze, you could tell it was meant for somebody who would deliver it in a Shakespearean fashion. It was hysterical; in my head, I was reading Freeze’s dialogue as Schwarzenegger.”
Of course, Stewart has appeared in numerous Shakespeare-inspired productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company over the years, so it’s easy to imagine that he would have more closely fit the bill than Schwarzenegger initially. However, script rewrites eventually redeveloped Mr. Freeze’s speech patterns and swapped Shakespeare for ice puns.
So, no, Patrick Stewart was not up for the role of Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin, but if he had been, would you have preferred to see him face off against Batman and Robin or are you happy the role went to Arnold Schwarzenegger?
The Top 7 Greatest Batman Vs Joker Stories
Of all the comic book hero/villain relationships, there are none quite as fascinating as Batman and the Joker. Order vs. Chaos. Seemingly opposite in nature, but more similar than you might believe. One of them insane while the other borders on insanity, some might argue. All Batman might need to take is one step in the wrong direction to become just like the Joker. Just a little push.
No one gets under the Dark Knight’s skin like the Joker, and vice versa. Joker has taunted Batman by challenging the nature of his existence, by brutally attacking his allies, sometimes even killing them. Batman meanwhile, frustrates Joker endlessly by refusing to give in to Joker’s temptation to kill him. In spite of this, Joker has a certain admiration for the Dark Knight. Depending on the interpretation, some might even call it love.
Over the years, a number of excellent writers have done their version of the Batman and Joker relationship. Whether in the comics, the television shows, or the movies, each medium has allowed a creator to leave their mark on this age-old battle. In the great Batman/Joker stories, the conflict between the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime is never just physical. It’s always philosophical, psychological and existential. Without one, we have to wonder whether the other would exist at all.
Click next to learn more about the greatest stories featuring the two characters.