Tommy Lee Jones apparently hated working with Jim Carrey on the set of Batman Forever. Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film, starring Michael Keaton as the eponymous superhero, was an overwhelming critical and commercial success for Warner Bros., which is why the studio pushed Burton to return for the sequel, Batman Returns. Unfortunately, both Burton and Keaton opted not to continue the series with a third installment, and so Warners ended up hiring Flatliners director Joel Schumacher as Burton’s replacement.
The third chapter in Warner Bros.’ original Batman series, Batman Forever, featured Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader and Keaton’s replacement, along with a set of new characters, such as Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian and Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson. Although Batman Forever was technically set in the same continuity as the previous two installments, the movie featured an entirely new slate of villains, such as Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler, and Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face. At one point in the movie, Nygma struck an alliance with Dent in order to bring down the Batman, and that’s something that apparently irked Jones.
Carrey spoke about his experience working on Batman Forever in a recent episode of Norm MacDonald Live. Apparently, Jones hated working alongside Carrey, and the acclaimed actor had confessed his hatred for the comedian when the two had run into each at a restaurant while filming the comic book film.
“It was at a restaurant, and the maitre de said, ‘Oh, I hear you’re working with Tommy Lee Jones. He’s over in the corner having dinner.’ I went over and I said, ‘Hey Tommy, how are you doing?’ and the blood just drained from his face. And he got up shaking – he must have been in mid-kill me fantasy or something like that. And he went to hug me and he said, ‘I hate you. I really don’t like you.’ And I said, ‘What’s the problem?’ and pulled up a chair, which probably wasn’t smart. And he said, ‘I cannot sanction your buffoonery.’”
Of course, it’s worth noting that Carrey’s take on the infamous Batman villain was more eccentric than the comic book version, and since Jones came from a background of mostly drama films, seeing Carrey’s take on the character might have turned him off. That’s something that Carrey believes, saying, “He might have been uncomfortable doing that work, too. That’s not really his style of stuff.” And it really wasn’t. After all, Jones had won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Fugitive just two years prior to Batman Forever releasing. So, going from that to a comic book movie was certainly an interesting career choice.
Carrey, on the other hand, was one of the biggest stars at the time, having established a certain level of renown for his roles in comedy films such as Ace Venture, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber. Clearly, both actors came from vastly different backgrounds, but no matter how Jones feels about Carrey now, the comedian says he doesn’t harbor any ill-feeling towards the acclaimed actor, and that he still loves him.