Renowned director Joel Schumacher passed away on Monday at the age of eighty, after a long battle against cancer. Schumacher, who has been behind many successful movies and franchises, was honored on social media by many of his collaborators. Jim Carrey, who played the villainous Riddler in Schumacher's Batman Forever and later reunited for The Number 23, took to Twitter to pay tribute to his late friend.
"Joel Schumacher has passed away. He saw deeper things in me than most and he lived a wonderfully creative and heroic life. I am grateful to have had him as a friend."
Batman Forever was the 1995 follow up to Tim Burton's iconic reimagining of the Dark Knight. Micheal Keaton was replaced in the role of Batman by Val Kilmer. After Robin Williams turned down the role of The Riddler, Jim Carrey came on board to breathe life into the character of the puzzles-loving supervillain, alongside Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face.
The role was a big departure for Jim Carrey, who had become famous as a leading man who portrayed goofy characters with hearts of gold. Unlike the gritty villains from Tim Bruton's Batman movies, Schumacher and Carrey decided to lean hard into the Riddler's campiness. To that end, Carrey was allowed to go as over the top as he pleased, and was perhaps the actor best suited to the equally-campy tone of the series that Schumacher had created as a homage to the old Batman tv show starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
Carrey's portrayal of Edward Nygma in the film, a scientist who's obsession with Bruce Wayne leads him to become the Riddler, was praised by critics, even as the rest of the movie caught a lot of flack for what many fans saw as undoing the realistic and gritty tone Burton had infused into the Batman franchise.
After Batman Forever, Schumacher and Carrey came together once again for The number 23. Once again, Schumacher wanted the actor to stretch more than his comedy acting muscles. This time, Carrey played the role of Walter Sparrow, an animal control officer who becomes paranoid and obsessive, believing that the hints and clues leading to the number 23 held crucial hints as to the direction in which his life was heading.
The movie managed to make a profit at the box-office even though critics failed to warm up to it. It has also become one of the first movies that Carrey fans point to when praising the actor's dramatic range.
Clearly, the creative partnership between Carrey and Schumacher had been a fruitful one, with Schumacher managing to bring out the best in the actor as a performer, whether in a performance resplendent with camp or more grounded in reality.
Aside from Batman Forever and The number 23, Joel Schumacher leaves behind an exhaustive filmograph spanning several decades of Hollywood. His career kickstarted with 1985's St. Elmo's Fire, and went on to reach many highs with The Lost Boys, Flawless, and Phone Booth, among others.