Are you ready to feel really, really old? Batman Forever is 28 years old. More than a quarter of a century. Soon it will be thirty years old. Thirty years? I still remember who I was dating at the time and our trip to see it. How the hell was that nearly thirty years ago?
Akiva Goldsman has been talking at length about his experiences on the project as the writer. He said Robin Williams was locked as The Riddler and they were workshopping together before he was replaced by hot property Jim Carrey. Joel Schumacher directed the movie, and it marked a change of tone from the gothic nightmare of Tim Burton’s vision. Goldsman gave a second interview, to The Playlist’s Bingeworthy podcast, where he spoke about something that has been the subject of a lot of speculation online, that a darker, more mature version of Batman Forever exists – the Schumacher Cut.
Some scenes have been made available online. Some were even cut into a fan-made version, known as the Red Book Edition, but that is it. There has been no Snyder Cut treatment. Does this version really exist? Could it be released?
“I saw [The ‘Schumacher Cut’] recently, and it’s funny because there’s been a swell on the internet for it, and I stay out of it, mostly. Although, it’s got about 35% more psychological realism in it. You know, it’s really more about guilt and shame. But the preview audience didn’t want it – the world wasn’t ready. Joel’s first cut had all of it in, and the audience was like, ‘Yeah, we just like the part where the guy’s funny and he’s scary and the big thing…’ And so, it got cut down into what it is. And it was cool.”
Goldsman spoke about it potentially being some kind of tribute to Schumacher.
“No, no – this was two administrations ago or one-and-a-half… It exists, you know. And I’m certainly an advocate for it being in the world – just for Joel, you know? Because he died and he died quietly…You know, there wasn’t a lot of honoring him and it would be a nice way to honor him, I think. And I think he’d get a kick out of it.”
The most talked about scenes that were taken out include an entire sub-plot about the Wayne Family and the red book seen in Bruce’s flashbacks, a jailbreak scene with Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face escaping from Arkham Asylum right at the very start. A tonally different, and much longer scene of the Riddler attacking Wayne Manot and the Batcave, a lot more of Kidman’s Dr. Meridien probing Wayne’s psyche, and the most shared – a dream sequence involving a massive bat.
Kevin Smith spoke of this version of the movie way back in 2020, saying:
“I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever. I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like ‘it’s too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let’s not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We’ve got Jim Carrey, let him do some s–t.”
Will we get to see some of that promise from The Lost Boys in this version, if it ever gets seen outside of Warner Bros?
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