Arnold Schwarzenegger Shot An Entire Movie Without Ever Meeting His Co-Stars

Arnold Schwarzenegger never spoke a line to his costars in Batman & Robin because he usually wasn't on set during their scenes.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

An article from Slash Film puts forth a very convincing argument that one of the worst superhero films ever had to be made in order for one of the best superhero films to exist. Basically, if Batman & Robin, starring George Clooney as Batman, Chris O’Donnell as Robin, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, hadn’t been put on such a tight production schedule, it may not have turned out so badly, and the franchise might have gone on, ultimately completely eliminating the need for Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot eight years later. Whether or not there is a parallel universe where Batman & Robin wasn’t the worst film of 1997 or not, one interesting fact remains true: Arnold Schwarzenegger never spoke a line to either of his castmates while filming the movie. 

Batman & Robin has long been known as not only the worst Batman movie ever made, but it’s pretty high up there among the worst superhero films ever made as well. There are many logical excuses for why Batman & Robin was a flop, including how Warner Bros. didn’t give director Joel Schumacher more time to work on the script with writer Akiva Goldsman, hence the feature ending up with a lackluster story that falls flat on nearly every other scene. But one of the biggest reasons why Batman & Robin is a terrible film is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of the villain Mr. Freeze.

To be fair, it isn’t the Austrian actor’s fault that his part is so unbelievably cheesy. All in all, Arnold Schwarzenegger can make a great film if he’s cast in the right part. For instance, can you imagine anyone else saying “I’ll be back” and having it be even half as iconic as it was when Schwarzenegger said it in Terminator?

When Batman & Robin was being made, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a major movie star, and George Clooney was mostly known for television. It makes sense that Warner Bros. would want someone like Schwarzenegger to headline the movie to draw in the audience. What doesn’t make sense is why someone at the studio would direct him to play the role as if he were in the cheesy ABC Batman comedy from the 1960s.

Nevertheless, that’s what happened, and so Arnold Schwarzenegger’s version of Mr. Freeze is what we got, and in return, he got a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actor.

It’s possible that Batman & Robin could have been entirely different if Arnold Schwarzenegger had actually interacted with his castmates on set. Despite Mr. Freeze, Batman, and Robin all having scenes together in the film, Schwarzenegger never said a word to them on the sound stage—not even his lines.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lack of interaction with Clooney and O’Donnell wasn’t because he was freezing them out, however. In fact, he interacted with both actors a lot off-set, including working with them on a publicity tour. 

The reason for Schwarzenegger’s lack of vocalizing with his co-workers was that he often wasn’t on set with them at the same time. Because of the shoot’s tight schedule, a body double was often used, and Schwarzenegger’s lines were put in later.