Yesterday, the veteran director Joel Schumacher died. Schumacher, who was 80, had been fighting cancer for a year. Schumacher leaves behind a long and complicated cinematic legacy. He leaves behind a long filmography, including many widely beloved films, including St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys, Flatliners, The Client, and A Time To Kill. (Schumacher also wrote the ’70s films Sparkle, Car Wash, and The Wiz after starting out as a costume designer.) But Schumacher remains best-known for taking over the Batman franchise from Tim Burton in the ’90s, making the exceedingly campy sequels Batman Forever and Batman And Robin. After Schumacher’s death, one of the people who benefitted most from those Batman movies has offered up a public remembrance.
Before the release of Batman Forever, the British singer Seal had released two albums, but he only had one US pop-chart hit, the 1990 single “Crazy.” His flowery 1994 ballad “Kiss From A Rose” had come out as a single, and it had stalled out, only reaching the lower edges of the pop charts. But the Schumacher used “Kiss From A Rose” on the Batman Forever soundtrack, and he also directed a new music video for the song, with Seal performing dramatically in front of the Bat signal. “Kiss From A Rose” became a global smash, hitting #1 in the US. It remains Seal’s biggest hit today.
In an Instagram video posted last night, Seal played a bit of “Kiss From A Rose” on acoustic guitar and told the story about “Kiss From A Rose,” a song that Seal called “a failure” before Batman Forever, finding new life because of Schumacher. Seal says that Schumacher wanted a new song for the movie. But Seal was working on a new album, so he didn’t have anything for the movie. Seal’s manager sent Schumacher a copy of Seal’s second album and told him to listen to “Kiss From A Rose,” and Schuacher used it over the Batman Forever end credits. Seal ultimately credits Schumacher for saving his career.
In the Instagram video, Seal says:
The reality of the situation is that nobody knew, except I guess for Joel, who had faith in the song. We didn’t re-record the song. We didn’t do a different edit of it. The only thing that was different is that he made a decent video for it. He called me over to the studio, and he said, “Look, I’ve got some bits and bobs left over from shooting. I’ll just stick you in front of the bat light and put a cape on you, and I’ll make a video.” He didn’t even charge me for it. He said, “I love the song so much.” Subsequently, kids thought I was Batman because the song was so big…
I owe my career, in large part, I guess, to Joel Schumacher, who took a chance — who took a song that was always a good song, but a kind of unconventional one, so it wasn’t immediately palatable. But the difference was that everyone who went to see that movie, when they came out of the theater, the last thing they heard was “Bayyy-baaaay.” And I guess it kind of stuck. MTV were forced to play the video because it had excerpts from the movie, and that’s all down to Joel Schumacher.
Here’s Seal’s Instagram video:
And here’s the “Kiss From A Rose” video that Schumacher directed:
In much stranger Seal news The New York Times reports that Seal has hired a growth hacking company to watch your Instagram stories.