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Joel T. Schumacher (August 29, 1939 – June 22, 2020) was a prolific American filmmaker of Swedish descent.

Starting his career as a costume designer and a screenwriter, he got his big break in the 1980s with the teen films St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys, the success of which allowed him to direct two adaptations of John Grisham novels, The Client and A Time to Kill. Other well-known titles of his include 8mm, The Phantom of the Opera and Phone Booth. He also directed chapters 5 and 6 in the hit Netflix series House of Cards.

To put it simply, Schumacher made many films that are not Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, a fact which is often conveniently overlooked. He was also seen as a very Nice Guy by his collaborators.

He directed two music videos for songs off of the soundtracks to his Batman movies: "Kiss from a Rose" by Seal and "The End Is the Beginning Is the End" by The Smashing Pumpkins.

Schumacher eventually passed away at the age of 80 in 2020, following a year-long battle with cancer.


Filmography:


Tropes associated with him:

  • Author Appeal: Supposedly defied, with the content of some of his other films backing this up. Joel Schumacher was a self-admitted "extremely promiscuous" man, but all the homoerotic imagery in his Batman films were apparently not him being self-indulgent and inserting muscular men for the hell of it. It's claimed he was inspired by Ancient Greek statues that highlighted well-toned male bodies.
  • Creator's Oddball: His Batman films, rather surprisingly enough for those who only know him for them. Schumacher's filmography mainly comprised of dark, dramatic, Psychological Thriller-types and were generally way more serious and gritty than either of the cartoonish Batman Forever or Batman & Robin. There's some level irony to the fact that Schumacher made two of the goofiest Batman films despite having proven to be capable of directing within the tones of later film adaptations.
  • Irony: He often reminded the cast and crew of Batman & Robin that they were filming a cartoon, rationalizing the Denser and Wackier tone. This is in spite of the fact that the concurrently running Batman cartoon was and is still acclaimed for being a very dark and mature take on the character.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Schumacher has claimed that unlike Tim Burton, he was actually a fan of Batman via the comics themselves, which manifested in the form of more focus on Bruce Wayne's character, something that Burton glossed over due to being more interested in the villains. It was speculated that the comics that Schumacher grew up with would've likely been the silly Silver Age comics which would explain a lot about the tone his movies went with (besides Executive Meddling).
  • What Could Have Been: After Batman & Robin, Schumacher campaigned for years to direct a third film about the character, even trying to direct a potential live-action Batman Beyond film, claiming that he’d learned his lesson and promised to deliver a dark and cerebral take on the superhero—playing to both the strengths of himself as a filmmaker and the character. Sadly, he never got the chance to prove it.

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