Batman vs. Superman won’t hit theaters for another year-and-a-half – which means we likely won’t be seeing any official footage or imagery for at least another year – and yet news and rumors pertaining to the film seem like a daily occurrence. Before Thanksgiving, Warner Bros. registered potential titles for the film; yesterday, Man of Steel star Henry Cavill talked about Ben Affleck being cast as Batman; and earlier today, Affleck himself discussed his excitement for the project.
Now, in a separate interview, Affleck has talked even more extensively about being cast as Batman, arguably the most popular and recognizable superhero the world over. Why did he decide to take the role, knowing full well that the response from fans might be cruel? What differentiates his Batman from that of Christian Bale’s in The Dark Knight trilogy? Which regrettable movie is he trying to make up for by taking part in Batman vs. Superman? Read on to find out.
“When they asked if I would be Batman, I told them I don’t see myself in the role and I was going to have to beg off. They said I’d fit well into how they were going to approach the character and asked me to look at what the writer-director, Zack Snyder, was doing. The stuff was incredible. [...] It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. It made me excited. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially.”
So what is it about Ben Affleck that fits so well with Zack Snyder’s vision of Batman vis-a-vis the world of Man of Steel? I have to confess, while I think Affleck has been great in plenty of roles and will almost certainly do well in Batman vs. Superman, I don’t typically associate him with words like “old,” “tired,” and “weary.” Sure, at 41, he’s a decade-plus older than Cavill, but he’s a youthful-looking guy. He’s not particularly grizzled or worn or wrinkled.
Which isn’t to say that he can’t play grizzled. You certainly saw a more weary and hardened individual in his performance as Tony Mendez in Argo. Still, I think there’s more to this Batman story – like maybe Affleck is still in line to direct the inevitable DC superhero team-up film, Justice League, as was the rumor so long ago.
On how his Batman will differ from previous portrayals of the character, particularly Christian Bale’s, Affleck said:
“I don’t want to give away too much, but the idea for the new Batman is to redefine him in a way that doesn’t compete with the Bale and Chris Nolan Batman but still exists within the Batman canon. It will be an older and wiser version, particularly as he relates to Henry Cavill’s Superman character.”
Fortunately, this is what makes Batman such a great character, especially in the reboot-happy world of movies – his versatility. As we’ve written about previously, he’s just about the only superhero who can exist inside of numerous, wildly different genres and aesthetics and tones, and do so with a great degree of success. He can be a sci-fi character, a superhero, a gritty vigilante, the World’s Greatest Detective, a wacky, campy response to the ridiculousness of 1960s comic book tropes, and on and on and on.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that the new take on Batman might be altogether different from Nolan’s iteration – Kevin Smith’s account of seeing the new Batsuit certainly seemed to indicate a complete 180 from the Nolan design – but it’s good to hear it said out loud from one of the principal actors: Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck are definitely not trying to recapture the magic created by Nolan and Bale. This will (seemingly) be a true Bat-reboot, albeit one that doesn’t step on its predecessor’s toes in the process.
Finally, Ben Affleck revealed the movie he most regrets making:
“The only movie I actually regret is ‘Daredevil.’ It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got fucked up the way it did stays with me. Maybe that’s part of the motivation to do Batman.”
While I’m sure Affleck has been/will be paid handsomely for his part in Batman vs. Superman and whatever Batman-related films follow, he does come off as being genuinely interested in making the best movie (and the best Batman) possible. It’s hard not to believe him when he says he thinks the pre-production stuff looks “incredible.”
Weary or not, grizzled or not, this is a guy who clearly didn’t need to sign up to play Batman. Coming off the Academy Award-winning Argo, he could’ve done a hundred other less complicated projects, but something about this one made him want to sign up. Let’s hope that’s a sign of there being something truly “incredible” in store for us. Because let’s face it – if they screw up this adaptation of World’s Finest, it’ll be a while before we ever see a reboot that does it justice.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Are you looking forward to seeing Ben Affleck on the big screen as Batman? Do you want his interpretation to be completely different from Bale’s? Drop us a line in the comments.
Man of Steel 2/Batman vs. Superman hits theaters July 17th, 2015.
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