Jim Carrey mourns his Batman Forever director and friend Joel Schumacher, who died Monday aged 80 following a year-long battle with cancer. Carrey portrayed costumed clue-dropping villain the Riddler opposite Val Kilmer's Batman and Tommy Lee Jones' Two-Face in Schumacher's first franchise entry, Batman Forever, which gave Schumacher his biggest box office performance when the DC Comics blockbuster released in 1995. The actor would reunite with Schumacher as star of his 2007 thriller The Number 23, where Carrey played a man who descends into darkness when he becomes obsessed with the 23 enigma and an obscure book seemingly mirroring his own life.
"Joel Schumacher has passed away. He saw deeper things in me than most and he lived a wonderfully creative and heroic life," Carrey tweeted alongside a photo of himself and the filmmaker. "I am grateful to have had him as a friend."
Joel Schumacher has passed away. He saw deeper things in me than most and he lived a wonderfully creative and heroic life. I am grateful to have had him as a friend. pic.twitter.com/7kOeJ96rL8— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) June 22, 2020
Schumacher took the reins from Batman and Batman Returns director Tim Burton and intended to make the threequel with Michael Keaton reprising his Batman role opposite Robin Williams as the Riddler. Williams met with the director multiple times but "just wouldn't commit" to the role, Schumacher recalled in a 2015 interview with Forbes.
"We had plenty of money to do what we wanted and we had wonderful people working on it. I thought the chemistry between Val and Nicole [Kidman] was great, and I thought Jim was just brilliant as Riddler," Schumacher said of his eventual Riddler star. "And Tommy Lee Jones, of course all you had to do was turn on the camera and you're going to get a great performance. It was fun, it was so much fun and not a lot of expectation because of what had happened before and so many people didn't want it. But the toy manufacturers, they were so great to me, they climbed on board."
Schumacher would return for 1997's Batman & Robin, teaming George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell as the dynamic duo against a trio of villains: the cool Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the deadly Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), and the powerful Bane (Jeep Swenson).
"I grew up on Batman comics. I was never a Superman fan, I was always since childhood a little on the dark side," Schumacher recalled of his decision to helm a comic book movie. "And of course I grew up before television, so comic books were like storyboards, as you know. I grew up behind the movie theatre and I always liked darker movies. I was into the adults' movies, I never liked kids' movies. So to me it was kind of, 'Oh my God, I could get to make a Batman comic. Are you kidding me? This is so cool!'"
Schumacher's Batman Forever and Batman & Robin are available for streaming on HBO Max.