In Memoriam: Joel Schumacher

On June 22nd 2020, director Joel Schumacher passed away at the age of 80 after a brave, one-year battle with cancer. Schumacher was best known for his cult 80s films St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) and The Lost Boys (1987), as well as his blockbuster Batman films Batman Forever (1995) and Batman and Robin (1997). Schumacher […]

Peter Lennon
23rd June 2020
IMDB
On June 22nd 2020, director Joel Schumacher passed away at the age of 80 after a brave, one-year battle with cancer. Schumacher was best known for his cult 80s films St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) and The Lost Boys (1987), as well as his blockbuster Batman films Batman Forever (1995) and Batman and Robin (1997).

Schumacher made waves in the industry as being one of the few openly gay directors in Hollywood, let alone one to achieve the success that he did. Though many of his films didn’t feature gay characters themselves, his gaze brought a unique and influential style, highlighting his shots with bisexual lighting and incorporating queerness into his costume designs.

Constantly derided for his additions to the Batman franchise, Schumacher’s entries continue to bring nostalgia and much enjoyment from a dedicated following, even if the masses continue to put them down. Despite the opposition that he faced, Schumacher continued to make films through five different decades, continuing his influence over the industry even as it was persistently underappreciated.

Greg Sestero recalled the director’s attentive and kind demeanour in a landscape where upcoming actors were frequently dismissed.

Joel Schumacher didn’t just work for himself. Known for casting young actors, Schumacher helped actors Colin Farrell and Matthew McConaughey progress their careers from obscurity. In his autobiography The Disaster Artist (2013), Greg Sestero shared an anecdote about his meeting with Joel Schumacher as a young actor, recalling the director’s attentive and kind demeanour in a landscape where upcoming actors were frequently dismissed.

Before he made his contributions as a director, Schumacher made his start in life working in the fashion industry before transitioning to filmmaking as a costume designer. Working as a designer on Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973) and other television projects, Schumacher studied at the University of California as a Master of Fine Arts student. Although he soon became a director, his work and flare for costume design carried through his own work and continues to make waves in iconography.

Joel Schumacher may have passed away, but his heart and spirit will continue to live on through his work and all of those that it has touched. We offer his family and close friends our deepest condolences and sympathies during this difficult time.

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AUTHOR: Peter Lennon
English Literature undergraduate. Although I primarily write for the Courier's Film section, I do love helping out in the Televsion and Gaming sections as well. I also organise and host livestreams/radio shows as FilmSoc's inaugural Head of Radio. Twitter: @PeterLennon79

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