Famed, and in some ways infamous for his colorful take on Batman, and veteran director Joel Schumacher has passed away. He was 80.
Deadline is reporting the filmmaker died of cancer after a yearlong battle according to his representatives at ID PR. Born in 1939 in New York, Schumacher began his career in the fashion industry before transitioning to Hollywood as a costume designer.
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He started making films as a screenwriter. His first credit was the 1976 low-budget comedy Car Wash. In the 80s, he began directing and made his debut with The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), starring Lily Tomlin.
Schumacher went on to direct some of the decade’s more notable cult hits including St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), DC Cab (1983), and the vampire teen flick The Lost Boys (1987). The former, starring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, put him on the map while the latter bloodsuckers cemented his name even further.
He was as prolific in the 90s, directing Flatliners (1990) and Falling Down (1993) before taking over for Tim Burton on Batman Forever. More primary-colored and neon than its predecessors, the film left many polarized.
The follow-up, Batman & Robin, did worse, sealing his fate and that of the franchise for eight years.
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Last year, the director cleared the air about Batman and his sidekick’s often suspect relationship, declaring once and for all in his estimation, they are not gay – not even in his movies.
While he missed out on doing a darker Caped Crusader in the proposed Batman Unchained, he went darker anyway with thrillers such as 8mm (1999) starring Nicolas Cage, and Phone Booth (2002) starring Colin Farrell, who plays Penguin in Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman.
He and Riddler star Jim Carrey reunited in 2007 to collaborate on a numerical mystery-suspense picture, The Number 23.
Schumacher also dabbled in music videos, directing the video for Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” which headlined the Batman Forever soundtrack, as well as videos for INXS and The Smashing Pumpkins.
He also liked musicals. He wrote and directed the 2004 adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera starring Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson. Steppenwolf actor Ciaran Hinds had a small role in that too.
Joel Schumacher is the second creative with a connection to Batman to die this month after writer/editor Denny O’Neil.