Any movie that willingly assembles George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Uma Thurman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is obviously asking for a little bit of media attention. But the four-month production of Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin got more than anyone had bargained for. ''I had to walk from my trailer to the stage with people around me holding up cardboard so no one could see or videotape me,'' recalls Schwarzenegger; even so, guerrilla photographers were caught after they shot him in costume as the villainous Mr. Freeze, coconspirator of wicked ecoterrorist Poison Ivy (Thurman).
What should moviegoers expect in their fourth trip to the Batcave? More time with Bruce Wayne (whose on-screen dates include Elle Macpherson), a Star Wars-style triumvirate of heroes (with the addition of Silverstone as Batgirl), and a somewhat lighter tone. Robin to Batman: ''[Poison Ivy] loves me, not you, and it's driving you crazy!'' Batman: ''This is why Superman works alone.''
Without the notoriously prickly Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader, says Schumacher, ''this was the sanest set I've ever worked on.'' But one painful point did linger from the last go-round the ongoing debate over which cast member got saddled with the most cumbersome costume. ''I had to carry 58 pounds of armor with this freezing pack on my back that weighed an additional 25 pounds,'' says Schwarzenegger, who reportedly snagged $25 million to play Mr. Freeze. ''I had twice the problem of George or Chris.'' (O'Donnell counters: ''That would be fine if, in return, we got paid half as much as he did.'') Still, Schwarzenegger admits he knew full well what he was getting himself into: ''Look,'' he says, ''you don't do these Batman pictures for comfort.''