On Monday, news broke that filmmaker Joel Schumacher had passed away at the age of 80. He had a long career, going back to the early ’70s, when he was a costume designer on films like Woody Allen’s Sleeper, before becoming a screenwriter (his credits include Car Wash and The Wiz) and eventually a director. As such, he amassed many friends, collaborators, and fans, many of whom took to social media to mourn his passing.
Let’s start with Kiefer Sutherland, who appeared in both Schumacher’s ’80s sexy young adult vampire movie The Lost Boys as well as his medical horror Flatliners.
Speaking of The Lost Boys, another of its stars, Corey Feldman, mourned him while making it clear that Schumacher, who was openly gay and quite prolific with his partners, was not one of the people in the industry he’s alleged abused him and others.
COSTUME 4 THE 1ST TIME EVER! IT WOULD B 2 WEEKS LATER THAT I WOULD MEET #COREYHAIM 4 THE 1ST TIME! THOUGH JOEL WAS A GAY MAN, HE HAD NOTHING 2 DO W THE CORRUPTION THAT OCCURED W HAIM & I DURING THE FILMING OF THE MOVIE. IN FACT HE HAD NO IDEA. HE DID HOWEVER SENSE DEEP PAIN IN ME
— Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) June 22, 2020
Schumacher had a diverse CV, ranging from Brat Pack movies (St. Elmo’s Fire) to vigilante movies (Falling Down) to John Grisham movies (The Client) to two separate comic book movies, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, which took a more camp approach to the crime fighter than Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan. Jim Carrey played the Riddler in Forever, as well as starred in 2007’s The Number 27.
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. pic.twitter.com/7kOeJ96rL8
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) June 22, 2020
Emmy Rossum, meanwhile, broke into movies by co-starring in Schumacher’s 2004 adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera.
I am in tears learning of Joel Schumacher's passing. He was a force. He was one of kind. Creative. Intense. Passionate. He played a huge part in the shaping of my life. I don't have the right words right now.
— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) June 22, 2020
Schumacher wasn’t only mourned by collaborators. He inspired other filmmakers as well, such as Rian Johnson, who took time to salute his costume designs on a favorite of his: the star-studded 1973 murder mystery The Last of Sheila, written by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins.
Along with everything else in his career, Joel Schumacher was the costume designer on The Last Of Shiela. Legend. pic.twitter.com/dWsBCUhZeo
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 22, 2020
Kevin Smith never worked with him but, as a-number one comic book fan, he did get to meet him.
RIP, Joel Schumacher. I met him on the set of the ill-fated Batman & Robin and he couldn’t have been nicer or more hospitable (and the man looooved to gossip). The Incredible Shrinking Woman was an early cable TV classic for me and I loved St Elmo’s Fire, The Client and Flawless. https://t.co/lqs14WPhTm
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) June 22, 2020
Michael McKean also never worked with him, but he had kind words as well.
RIP Joel Schumacher. Why is his (and Michael Douglas') estimable Falling Down so underseen today?
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) June 22, 2020
Elsewhere, people pointed to Schumacher’s colorful commentary track on Batman and Robin, in which he confesses to have wanted to make a darker movie but was blocked by Warner Bros., who wanted to sell toys.
Joel Schumacher's commentary on the Batman & Robin DVD stands alone pic.twitter.com/KtDwvoxEfV
— Bob Marshall (@bobmarshall) June 22, 2020
Schumacher’s lighting style, especially on his neon-heavy Batman movies, got some love.
RIP Joel Schumacher: Patron Saint of Cinematic Bisexual Lighting. pic.twitter.com/OgI5mNQB73
— BJ Colangelo (@bjcolangelo) June 22, 2020
Others praised him for essentially smuggling what was essentially queer cinema into the summer movie season.
Joel Schumacher put Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman in Batman movies; his contribution to queer cinema is significant especially because he didn’t make “gay movies” he put queerness into different genres through aesthetic and atmosphere. pic.twitter.com/JKnzQqgBQL
— All About My Mathur (@TheManish89) June 22, 2020
And others pointed to what appears to have effectively been Schumacher’s exit interview, aka the delightfully frank one he gave to Vulture in August of 2019. What a life, indeed.