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?