Joel Schumacher’s Vulture interview is bonkers & full of celebrity name-drops

Joel Schumacher

In 2019, if you’re a celebrity under the age of 60, you get to interview yourself. If you’re over 60, you have to sit down and actually spill your guts about every single detail of your life, sexual history and career. That’s the trend. So it is with Joel Schumacher, director of such feature films like Flatliners, St. Elmo’s Fire, Batman Forever, The Client and A Time to Kill. He knows everybody. He helped “discover” Julia Roberts. He discovered Brad Renfro. He got career advice from Woody Allen in the ‘70s. He’s had sex with 20,000 people. Seriously, this Vulture interview with Schumacher is BONKERS. Some highlights:

Becoming friends with Woody Allen in the ‘70s: “He and Diane Keaton had broken up, and he was sort of a bachelor-around-town in New York. Many times we were both single. There was a New Year’s Eve when we took all our invitations, his and mine, and we decided we were going to go to every single party together. From a small gathering to a huge thing. That was fun. Woody taught me, at a very early stage in my career, things that have carried me. So did everyone I’ve ever worked with. All I know about Woody is he couldn’t have been a more generous friend. And Mia was fantastic to me.”

His thoughts on Dylan Farrow’s story: “I saw the interview with Dylan. She believes it happened. Her brother certainly believes it. Mia absolutely believes it. And I’m not saying it happened. I’m just saying they believe it happened. But she was so young at the time that I don’t know.

How Ewan McGregor was cast as Joel’s dear friend Halston: “Well, I mean, with all great respect for Ewan, but he doesn’t look anything like Halston. Armie Hammer should have played Halston. He’s perfect.”

On Colin Farrell & star-power: “When he came in, it’s like the whole room was filled just with his presence. There was something about him. It was like when I first saw Demi [Moore] at a distance. Kiefer [Sutherland] had like one shot in At Close Range, just one. He had a larger part that was cut out, and I remember I said, “Bring that kid in for The Lost Boys.” I didn’t know he was Donald’s son. It’s kind of like falling in love. You know there’s someone out there, but you haven’t met them yet. And then Julia Roberts comes in at 19 or 20, and you say, “Thank you, God.”

On Julia Roberts: “Julia didn’t change, the world changed. Overnight, when Pretty Woman opened, she became the No. 1 female box-office star in the world, and she was not prepared. It was a fish bowl — “Let’s watch this girl handle this bucking bronco,” and let’s see any time she makes a mistake. Did she drink too much? Did she meet the wrong boyfriend? What did she do wrong?….[one night] she looked up at me, crying, and said, “I never needed to be this famous.” And it was so profound to me because I realized you can’t decide how much fame you want or get. It’s not up to you. You now belong to them. I think she did eventually become very strong. She had to be. What was her other choice?”

On how Tommy Lee Jones is an a–hole: “He was fabulous on The Client. But he was not kind to Jim Carrey when we were making Batman Forever. And I didn’t say Val [Kilmer] was difficult to work with on Batman Forever. I said he was psychotic. [Tommy Lee Jones] wasn’t kind to Jim. He did not act towards Jim the way an Oscar winner with a star on Hollywood Boulevard, being the oldest member of the cast, and having such a distinguished career and the accolades to go with it, should have acted towards Jim. But what happens on the set stays on the set.

How he had sex with men when he was underage: “I never felt abused….I would think people know the difference between being molested and mutual consent. Legally, a minor is considered not able to make up their own mind, and they’re taken advantage of, but I never, ever, felt that in my life. I know what other people have suffered.”

Whether those sexual situations (when he was a minor) were creepy: “Listen, I mean, if I say this I’m gonna be killed — there are very seductive children. I was one of them. I was very seductive at a very young age. That doesn’t mean that anybody who was older should’ve said yes or just complied, but I feel in my lifetime I’ve always been a very results-oriented person.

Trying to guess the number of partners he’s had: “It would be in the double-digit thousands, but that is not unusual…10, or 20 [thousand]. It’s not [amazing] for a gay male, because it’s available.

[From Vulture]

There’s a lot more, obviously, about all of the actors he’s worked with and he still remembers who said what to whom and why. He remembers Brad Renfro and how he and Susan Sarandon tried to protect Renfro but couldn’t. He remembers how much fun George Clooney always was. He remembers a lot about Halston, one of his dear friends (but they were never lovers). The “seductive children” comment really grossed me out and I really don’t want to dissect it. Have at it.

Joel Schumacher

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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61 Responses to “Joel Schumacher’s Vulture interview is bonkers & full of celebrity name-drops”

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  1. portobadisco11 says:

    These people’s morality is something else. The next question should have been whether he has sexually abuse children.

  2. Sierra says:

    If he had to clarify he wasn’t abused then the truth is that he was abused.

    • Jb says:

      Sounds like he was and has internalized it as he was just a sexual “seductive” child. He cannot admit to himself that what was done to him was wrong and he embraces as it was a sexual awakening instead of being groomed and molested. It was explain his really demented view of “seductive children “ and his view on sex overall. Sex with 20,000 ppl is not a healthy approach to sex for any person. He sounds seriously screwed up but doubt he’ll ever seek help.

    • Arizona says:

      If he doesn’t feel he was abused, we don’t get to decide he was. Sometimes people have experiences that aren’t considered normal, and it’s not traumatic or abusive to them even if it might be to someone else.

      • charo says:

        People who don’t know anything and have never worked in this area are the ones who make comments like YOURS.

        People who do know, say. Your ignorance about the subject of abuse doesn’t stop you from having an opinion but it doesn’t mean you know about it.

        ALSO — who counts, for god’s sake? He COUNTED?

  3. Kittycat says:

    “seductive children”

    Two words that should never be put together.

    It reminds me of the countdown for when the Olsen twins turned 18.

    There are a lot of creepy people out there.

    • Giddy says:

      Right. He is accustomed to a lifestyle where he tries to excuse abuse by saying that the children were seductive, therefore they were complicit in their own abuse. A belief such as this requires the absolute absence of a moral center.

      • charo says:

        When kids are abused they often blame themselves, just as they blame themselves for other events [like parents' divorce].

        And kids who’ve been abused are often abusers. So he didn’t do himself any favors here.

        Nor does hanging w/Woody Allen.

  4. BlueSky says:

    I always suspect the ones that cape for people like Woody Allen, Louis CK, probably are guilty of doing similar things. (Looking at you Dave Chappelle)
    It wouldn’t surprise me at all that if he saw nothing wrong with having sex with older men while underage he would see nothing wrong with what Woody Allen is suspected of doing.

  5. aurora says:

    That’s so disgusting I can’t.

  6. Sour Patch says:

    Children are not seductive, they are vulnerable. Hollywood is a sick place. I’m to the point where I don’t even want to support anything in the entertainment industry, I haven’t gone to the movies in over two years and I’ve cancelled my streaming services. I don’t want to unknowingly support perverts anymore. They’re everywhere in Hollywood.

    • Algernon says:

      They’re everywhere full stop. You hear about it in Hollywood because those people are famous so it gets reported on, but I hate to inform you that Hollywood does not have a monopoly on perverts.

      • Sour Patch says:

        Yeah I know pervs are everywhere, but especially in the entertainment industry and many are still working and celebrated for their art, like Woody Allen. I feel like predators are rewarded in the entertainment industry. It’s just as bad in the music scene, see Dr. Luke. I

      • Amy says:

        And we don’t have to invite them into our lives. I’m all about choosing what shows up in my living room. And this dude doesn’t make the cut anymore.

  7. Millennial says:

    The words “seductive children” coming out of a Hollywood power players mouth this is exactly why I think any parent who would send their kid to Hollywood is absolutely unfit and crazy. Sorry, not sorry.

  8. Arizona says:

    if you know you’re going to get killed for saying something, It’s probably pretty disgusting and you probably shouldn’t say it in an interview that will get shared with thousands, if not millions. and that’s about all I want to say about that.

  9. SamC says:

    Sounds like he was groomed as a child and internalized those beliefs.

    Tommy Lee Jones is a nasty, mean, abusive expletive, especially towards women and, at least in the past, made no attempts to hide it.

  10. Snowslow says:

    Err… What?
    My first partner was 20 and I was 15. I thought it was normal. I must have been seductive. I was certainly mature of my age and people always thought I was 18.
    However. However. Looking back now… I have a physical reaction of disgust at my own ability to block out his horrible behaviour.
    So I understand what he is saying. I was not traumatised, I survived, I am ok.
    But if I could replace that experience with another one (preferably later), I would.

  11. Lucy says:

    “Seductive children”???? Fock him. Pervert

  12. Rapunzel says:

    The phrase “seductive children” is disgusting, and while I give him credit for at least saying, “That doesn’t mean that anybody who was older should’ve said yes or just complied,” that’s missing the point that children are too young to be seductive. He’s basically saying, “They ask for it. You should say no, but they ask for it” Putting in the “you should say no” doesn’t erase the fact it’s sick to think “they ask for it”

    Add to that the fact that he says he thinks Dylan Farrow only “believes” Woody abused her and it didn’t actually happen, and I’m convinced Joel has some skeletons hiding. This really makes me wonder what sketchy things he’s done.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Its also a very loaded statement. I’m not defending him but it makes me think he was groomed by a predator and still doesn’t recognise that he was conditioned to believe he was the provocateur to helpless older men who could not resist him. It also makes you wonder what skeletons he has in his closet.

      • Rapunzel says:

        DU- possibly he was. Or he’s simply one of the millions of men who think looking provocative means you are asking for it.

      • Ainsley7 says:

        I agree that he’s convinced that he seduced the adults who took advantage of him. He was either groomed to believe it or he convinced himself of it as a way of coping. Either way, it’s really sad and shows how victims can become potential abusers. I certainly wouldn’t trust him with kids.

    • Carey says:

      This makes me feel horrible just to put this down but it’s well known that abused children do exhibit inappropriately sexual and seductive behaviors. But it doesn’t come out of nowhere, those children behave that way because they are abused and rewarded by their abusers/groomers for being sexual. So I don’t want to give Shumacher a pass for what he said, but he’s coming at this from the POV of someone who hasn’t processed his abuse and hasn’t framed his own seductive behavior in a proper context. It didn’t sound to me like he was making an argument or justification for sexually abusing children, but if it comes out that he has been an abuser I wouldn’t be shocked either just because he hasn’t done the emotional work to come to terms with what happened to him. An 11-year-old child drinking, taking drugs and having sex with men is a child who has been utterly abandoned by the adults who are supposed to be taking care of him.

  13. Mere says:

    Of COURSE there are seductive children. Jesus. It would be great if there weren’t, but there are. My ex had a beautiful woman friend who was one of those people who always looks perfect, not a hair out of place. She was a horrible person, always cheating on her devoted husband, etc. Anyway, she had a 12 year old daughter who was about the sexiest 12 year old on Earth. The daughter had been subconsciously emulating the mother (who got tons of attention) for years by that point. She was downright seductive in the way she looked at you. It was really disturbing and sad. Obviously she was also hugely vulnerable because of this as well. Both things can be true.

    • Tanya says:

      I agree. I grew up really poor. There were definitely kids who were exploited and weaponized their exploitation to survive. And they didn’t see it as exploitation, because the brain is very good at adapting for survival.

      • MC2 says:

        This comment hits it on the head. If you see a “sexualized child” then you’re seeing a victim of abuse who is acting out to survive & we, as adults, should know better then to not see that or act on their vulnerability. We all know that kids being sexually abused in our society is common place so why the hell do we not see that when we see a child acting out sexually?! For Mere to not see this little girl as a victim says everything about Mere & not the girl. Have compassion for cs.

      • otaku fairy.... says:

        @MC2: Good point, but the thing is Mere didn’t even describe anything that can be called a clear-cut example of a preteen sexually acting out. Just a girl who looks like her pretty mother and shares a gaze that he or she described as ‘seductive’. That’s not enough to confirm that that specific girl was sexually abused. A lot of times people brand young girls as fast, damaged, and in danger just because those girls exude any kind of confidence or fire, are pretty, are feminine, and/or are allowed to wear things that their own parents or grandparents would not have allowed in a previous decade. Sometimes it’s influenced by generational, religious, political, or cultural differences too.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Mere- children can’t be seductive. End of. They can be exploited. They can be dressed in an adult manner. But they are mentally incapable of being seductive. Being dressed sexy doesn’t mean you are sexy or seducing. It means you are being groomed, pimped out, or simply copying an adult (which adults should prevent). If you are under age, you are unable to consent, which means you are also unable to seduce. This is why you are under age.

      Under age means incapable of seduction. Seduction is an of age behavior.

      • DS9 says:

        I might get flamed or deleted or this comment won’t make it out of moderation but I disagree with this.

        In terms of physical development, there is often little difference between a 16 year old and a 19 year old. To say otherwise is to rob teenagers of their bodily autonomy and to make them feel shame and embarrassment in their own skin.

        Mentally and emotionally are different stories. Between that and the power and experience imbalance, we as a society largely agree out rather should that adults should limit themselves to having sex with other adults. It’s explotative otherwise.

        We are not some base creatures that must rut with everyone we desire, with anyone who wants us. To be an adult or a decent person is to behave with decency even if a 16 year old girl with a fully developed body, full of raging hormones comes onto you.

        A sixteen year old can be seductive. That’s no excuse for criminal or predatory behavior. Let them have sex with other teenagers. How is that hard?

      • Arizona says:

        @DS9 I tried to say a similar thing, but my comment didn’t make it through. That’s why I struggle a little bit with the blanket use of the word children. A 16 year old can be sexy and seductive in a way that, say, a 10 year old obviously can’t or wouldn’t be.

        I think it’s incumbent on adults to recognize that these are still minors, and treat them as such. In no scenario should an adult be sleeping with a 16 year old. But there’s a reason that 16 is considered the age of consent in many places, even though they’re technically still a minor. And I don’t think once you turn from 17 to 18, you’re magically capable of seduction or being sexy because you crossed the age threshold.

    • Pixie says:

      Um @Mere, I read his comment about ‘seductive children’ and thought there is no way I would read anything worse today. Only, for you to concur and describe a 12 year old as sexy? I have no words for how disturbing and wrong that sentiment is, and admitting you found a 12 year old seductive is the kind of thing you save for therapy not the comment boards of a popular culture website..

      • DS9 says:

        The problem with saying that 12 year olds cannot be seductive or sexy is that you’re very close to saying men and women whose bodies are built differently cannot be seductive or sexy.

        There are grown women and men who will never be tall and/or curvy or larger or whatever. If you are a 26 year old female who is 4’11, slender, and without a large amount of breast tissue, can you never be sexy or sexually attractive?

      • Pixie says:

        @DS9 That is a particularly weak strawman argument. Saying a child is not sexy, is absolutely not in any way the same thing as saying a smaller than average adult can never be sexy. Honestly, the argument itself is mind boggling. A 12 year old or any minor is not and should never be considered sexy by an adult, on account of the fact that they are a child and not mentally, physically or emotionally developed in any meaningful way. Children ought to be protected and not sexualised, and I imagine your line of reasoning would be a popular one amongst Woody Allen, Epstein and his ilk. I would hope that thought alone gives you pause.

      • Paz says:

        I understand what Mere is saying, i have also been 12, and I remember girls like this, and its disturbing of course, maybe it’s just girls trying to push boundaries IDK, but the fact is, even if there are girls acting like this, adults are supossed to be better and know better, right?

    • Jb says:

      Mere seriously think about your comment and proclaiming of course children can be seductive! Take a seat and consider the ramifications by saying that…if the 12yr Old you mentioned gets involved in a sexual relationship with a 30yr old man, do you honestly believe she “seduced” him?? My god, please stop excusing predators because that is exactly what your comment does. That 12yr old is still a child no matter how adult you think she acts. Adults males and females have the responsibility to be just that, Adults. Your Lolita fueled comment is so much yuck.

      • DS9 says:

        I did not nor do I mean to imply that any adult who engages in or consumes sexual media of a child was seduced by that child.

        That’s not what I or others in this thread are stating in the slightest.

        Children and teens absolutely should be protected. No one should be engaging in sexual activity or viewing children in a sexual manner or in any way that condones sexual activity and teens should only be dealing with other teens not adults.

        We all have baser, biological instincts that aren’t ethically, morally right or cause harm to others if we act on them. And every day, we resist them. I’m very confused as to why it’s difficult to acknowledge that sexuality does not magically turn on at 18 without being accused of enabling pedophilia, child molestation, rape of a minor, etc.

        I really don’t think it’s any different than resisting the urge to commit murder or some other crime. After all, rape remains a horrific, dehumanizing crime regardless of how attractive the victim is believed to be to the monster who commits that crime. And it remains psychologically damaging to those who survive it regardless of the circumstances around it.

        Sex with children is rape and wrong regardless of the circumstances.

        Adults having sex with teenagers is rape regardless of circumstances.

        You don’t have to deny hormones and human development to say those things without equivocation.

      • Pixie says:

        @DS9 12 year olds are not and should not be considered sexy to an adult, and it is not denying ‘hormones or human development’ to state that fact clearly. Sexuality may not automatically awaken at 18, but it certainly isn’t present in children-adult interaction. Finding a 12 year old sexy or seductive is wrong and reason to seek professional help and should not be considered anyone’s ‘baser, biological instinct’, and to argue otherwise is deeply disturbing.

      • Angel says:

        DS is saying that an adult gazing on a child should never ever act on any feelings of a sexual urge toward the child. Full stop.

        DS is saying that in the mind of a pubescent 12-17 year old there can be seduction/sexual urges. I agree.

        At 12, all I cared about was horses and books.

        But at 14 I started my period, at 15 I started sexually experimenting and it was all kinds of confusing and exciting and definitely gave me a sense of power I didn’t have before. It was all boys my own age but I had friends who only had eyes for “older” guys, 17,18,19 year olds. Me, I looked like a baby but not all of my friends did.

        Billy Idol’s rock the cradle of love was a favorite song and I would have given anything to look like the babysitter in that video. Did I have the slightest idea what sex with an adult would mean for me on any rational level, of course not. But did I think it would be cool to be noticed as attractive? I sure did.

      • Pixie says:

        @Angel Yeah, and I’m saying an adult gazing on a child should never ever FEEL any sexual urge toward a child. Full stop. This isn’t hard and there aren’t layers of nuance here.

      • Steph says:

        Children play make believe up unto their teens as a way to test the boundaries of the world. If that 12 year old girl is acting “sexy” by emulating her mother, it’s up to you to say oh- that’s a kid playing make believe. The terms sexy and seductive should not be applied to children just because they are maturing physically. Sexy is a state of mind and not physicality. Seduction begins on the mind, not bc a girl develops breasts early. To describe a child’s physicality as sexy or seductive is promoting the patriarchy and the idea and one’s body is what makes them an attractive mate.

      • otaku fairy.... says:

        Exactly, Steph. The problem is that like Mere, people have a tendency to oversexulalize everything girls do (smdh at the thought of an adult painting a 12-year-old as hypersexual because of her gaze), and it starts early.

      • Joanna says:

        I think what mere and ds9 are saying is that you can be a child and still be seen as having attributes that would be considered sexy if you were an adult. I’ve been hit on since the age of 16 by creeps in their 30s. Apparently I have what’s considered a “sexy” body. I couldn’t handle the attention when I was young. I started wearing baggy clothes. But as I’ve gotten older, I feel more comfortable in my body. So I’ve started wearing not revealing but from fitting clothes, and I get looks quite frequently. On a family vacation, this kid at subway was staring at me. My mom and her friend were like oh he likes her body. At the age of 16, I had a sexy body apparently. To acknowledge that child can have attributes that are considered sexy in an adult is not being a creep imo. I’ve seen young guys with a hot body and thought “if he was a few years older…” but I wouldn’t go there because he’s a child still to me. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have attributes that appeal in a sexual way. 36DDs are always going to be big breasts , whether you’re 16 or 25. But a decent adult would say that’s a child, no way! But especially older teens, they are developing an adult’s body, which can be seductive. That’s not saying the child is asking for it or trying to seduce anyone. You’re just noticing an attribute that would be seductive in an adult. Neither mere nor ds9 is saying they are asking for it.

  14. Lucy2 says:

    I was disgusted by his comments about WA, and it just got worse from there.

  15. adastraperaspera says:

    Becomes more clear every day what many men who gained power, money, and fame have been up to. Absolute indulgence of their every whim, no matter how base. They’ve raped and dehumanized untold numbers of kids and adults, and for what? We got a few movies to watch, I guess. Sick.

  16. DS9 says:

    I…understand I suppose what he believes he means when he uses that terrible phrase. Teenagers can be and sometimes are sexual beings with wants and desires.

    But adults taking them up on it is never excusable.

    Teenagers simply do not have mental or emotional development to fully consent to a sexual encounter with an adult.

    Full.effing.stop

  17. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Can someone please launch an investigation into this man? Because anyone who thinks children can be seductive is a f*cking pedophile.

  18. Lowrider says:

    Spacey, Schumacher, Mckellen, Singer….

    • Arizona says:

      McKellan?!

      • Sophia’s Sideye says:

        Arizona, yep. It broke my heart that he runs in that crowd. I’ve not heard anything in particular about him, but he is suspect as hell because of who he’s friends with. Best case, he knows what they’ve done, said nothing and still spent time with them.

  19. Purple Prankster says:

    Aaliyah said a similar thing about how sexy she was as a child, interestingly.

  20. Liz version 700 says:

    I read once that statistically people who prey on children can have hundreds of victims in a lifetime if not stopped. It makes me wonder, given the general vomit inducing tone of his comments, how many of those 20,000 “partners” were actually underage victims …..

    • Senator Fan says:

      I agree and thought the same thing, how many were consensual adults? So effing gross!

    • North of Boston says:

      Aside from his other creepy comments, I’m side-eyeing him for his 20,000 partners #

      That would be a brand new sex partner each and every day for 54 years straight. I’m not buying it.

  21. ScarletSolicitor says:

    McKellan? Lowrider, please explain. I have never heard a single bad thing about McKellan, and I will be heartbroken if I’ve missed something. But let’s be sure before we add someone to a list of predators or
    We Shall Not Pass!

  22. Senator Fan says:

    Holy Shit! What a freak! I have a feeling he or his people will try and walk this back and say it was taken out of context. You can’t walk back what he said or implied. I think as others have said here, he likely was groomed and abused as a child. And I would also think too that he may have abused underaged kids, just by his own words. Scary. And these type of predators are everywhere in every walk of life everywhere in the world.

    This is an interesting topic and thread. I am actually going to read the article in full.