George Clooney’s Batman costume from Joel Schumacher’s 1997 “Batman & Robin” might be the most ridiculed get-up in superhero movie history thanks to its pronounced plastic nipples, and now the suit can be yours thanks to Heritage Auctions. Clooney’s infamous Batman nipple suit is up for auction with an opening bid set at $40,000. The sale is part of Heritage’s Hollywood & Entertainment Signature Auction, taking place July 22-23.
“This is easily the most famous – and infamous – Batman costume ever designed, as evidenced by the fact that all these years later, it continues to make headlines every time Tim Burton and George Clooney get asked about it,” Heritage Auction’s executive vice president Joe Maddalena said in a statement. “But to his credit, Joel Schumacher never apologized for the ‘Bat-nipples.’ In fact, he once told Vice, ‘I’m still glad we did it.’ And I am just as glad we have the chance now to offer this piece of cinema history to someone who can appreciate the costume as much as Schumacher clearly did.”
The Batman nipple suit is one of several props coming to auction from the Caped Crusader’s history on the big screen. Jim Carrey’s Riddler walking cane from “Batman Forever” is also up for grabs (with an opening bid set at $8,000), as is Jack Nicholson’s iconic purple Joker suit from Tim Burton’s original “Batman” (with an opening bid set at a whopping $65,000).
According to Heritage Auctions, Clooney’s Batman suit is “constructed of cast foam latex, vinyl, resin components, leather, and other mixed media elements all expertly painted, finished and assembled on a life-size pose-able mannequin with a hyper-realistic George Clooney head with prosthetic grade false eyes. Costume pieces include hero signature cowl, full length superhero cape with 2-cape clips, muscle tunic with signature ‘Batman’ icon on the chest, muscled tights, peaked and finned gauntlet gloves, and knee-high character boots.”
Clooney has long spoken out against the nipple suit and “Batman & Robin” in general, once saying in an interview, “It was a difficult film to be good in. With hindsight it’s easy to look back at this and go, ‘Woah, that was really shit and I was really bad in it.’”
In an interview with Empire magazine earlier this year, Burton slammed studio Warner Bros. for approving the nipple suit. Burton’s “Batman Returns” was met with some resistance by the studio because of its dark tone, and the studio did not want him to continue on with a third movie. The director left and was replaced by Schumacher, who went in a complete opposite direction than Burton with the over-the-top camp in “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin.”
“[Back then] they went the other way,” Burton said. “That’s the funny thing about it. But then I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Okay. Hold on a second here. You complain about me, I’m too weird, I’m too dark, and then you put nipples on the costume? Go fuck yourself.’ Seriously. So yeah, I think that’s why I didn’t end up [doing a third film.]”
Adding nipples to Batman’s suit was the brain child of Schumacher and the franchise’s lead sculptor Jose Fernandez. Speaking to Mel Magazine in June, Fernandez said the nipples worked far better in “Batman Forever” because they were less pronounced on the suit.
“It wasn’t fetish to me, it was more informed by Roman armor — like Centurions,” Fernandez said about the costume’s nipples. “And, in the comic books, the characters always looked like they were naked with spray paint on them — it was all about anatomy, and I like to push anatomy. I don’t know exactly where my head was at back in the day, but that’s what I remember. And so, I added the nipples. I had no idea there was going to end up being all this buzz about it.”
Schumacher allegedly loved the nipples so much in “Batman Forever” that he requested to showcase them even more in “Batman & Robin.” Fernandez did not want to go in that direction, but “he’s the boss, so we sharpened them, circled them and it all became kind of ridiculous.”