Arnold Schwarzenegger Was Willing To Go 'All Out' With His Mr. Freeze Makeup

When it comes to hyping a movie, no one does it better or more unabashedly than Arnold Schwarzenegger. In his movie star prime (roughly 1982 through 1996), the pumped-up Austrian never missed a high-profile stop on the global media tour. In one morning, he'd swat softball questions on "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" and dive into the juvenile muck of "The Howard Stern Show," then jet back to L.A. for "The Tonight Show." Regardless of whether he was promoting an instant classic or "Eraser," he'd sell the film like it was the can't-miss event of the year. Even when you knew he was shining us on, you couldn't help but be knocked out by his genial shamelessness. A lot of stars hate this part of the job, but back in the day Schwarzenegger seemed to thrive on it.

If you're thinking there had to be a limit to Schwarzenegger's brazenness, I assure you there was not. Exhibit A: his enthusiastic flogging of the rancid, franchise-hobbling "Batman & Robin."

The power and the glory of Mr. Freeze

Joel Schumacher's "Batman & Robin" was one of the very first movies to suffer a barrage of bad publicity due to negative test screening reviews posted to the internet via fan websites like Ain't It Cool News and Corona Coming Attractions. The most damaging pans hit two months prior to the film's release, which meant Schwarzenegger did not have the usual cover afforded stars shilling garbage. If you think this might've given the future Governor of California pause, you are sorely mistaken.

In a 1997 video interview with junketeer Mark Greczmiel, Schwarzenegger brashly talks the film up like it's a one-of-a-kind spectacle. For example, when asked if he was worried about donning the silver makeup that turned him into Mr. Freeze, Schwarzenegger unleashes a magnificent string of BS. First, he goofs on the question. "Do I look to you like a worrier?" After chuckling at his self-deprecating comment, he launches into salesman mode: 

"I find quite the opposite. I start thinking about, 'How can we make this makeup as interesting as possible? How can we make it challenging? How can we make it so it's really entertaining for the people all over the world? How can we create the kind of armor that would be spectacular?'"

Now that he's warmed up, Schwarzenegger goes in for the kill: 

"Being part of a Batman movie, and having seen the other Batmen, everything is a spectacle, everything is bigger than life. So I knew that the only way as Mr. Freeze to really stand out, and to be unique, and to be one of the great villains — or maybe the best villain of all the movies — is by really going all out with the makeup, all out with the armor and with the performance."

A hype man's hype man

What's wonderful about Schwarzenegger's "best villain of all the movies" hyperbole is that you think he probably means of all of the Batman movies, but you wouldn't put it past him to claim Mr. Freeze might just be the greatest big-screen villain of all time. And why not? Even though moviegoers had then unprecedented intel on what a stinker "Batman & Robin" was, this kind of hype was and always will be utterly disposable. There are a lot of movie stars who get sheepish at being forced to hawk a rotten movie, but Schwarzenegger is not one of them. He's an old-school professional who goes above and beyond for whatever movie he's in. And no matter how absurd his comments might be, you can't help but love him for this.