Ben Affleck Talks Justice League, The Avengers & Shared Universes

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Ben Affleck Reading Justice League Ben Affleck Talks Justice League, The Avengers & Shared Universes

In August, Variety reported that Ben Affleck was in talks with Warner Bros. – a studio he’s very friendly with having directing The Town and Argo for them – about potentially directing Justice League, stating that he was the only candidate the studio had sent Will Beall’s Justice League screenplay to at the time.

Rumors and speculation had Affleck potentially even putting on the cape and cowl as Batman, taking over the role from Christian Bale, but later Affleck denied it all, admittedly revealing that he thought the Justice League was exciting. As it turns out, he did chat with Warner Bros. about the project, but wasn’t offered it.

In an interview with HitFix, Affleck clarified what really happened, explaining that Justice League was one of many project ideas raised in a meeting, but nothing more.

“I just want to make it clear because it’s not like I had something to even pass on. Because someone will eventually do ‘Justice League’ and they’ll go, like, ‘Ben Affleck passed on it,’ and it won’t be true. So I don’t mind setting the record straight. It’s one of those things where the closest I came was some people talked to me about it like at a meeting. They were like, ‘Here’s the stuff we’re doing,’ you know? ‘Here’s what we’re looking at.’ That kind of thing. And they suggested it. But I don’t think there’s a script. I don’t think there’s anything.”

He continued, sharing his belief that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment can do what Marvel Studios has done, in building their own shared universe, and that they have the characters and stories from the comics to make it happen.

“I think there’s a DC Avengers that could be done because they have the characters for it. And there’s some stuff in the comics now that’s kind of interesting, and it’s cool. That’s what Marvel does so well. They do a lot of things well, but one of the things that I’m really impressed by is how they coordinated all those movies. I mean, you never see somebody make a whole movie with the eye of, like, building it into new sequels, but that’s because you’re just hoping it’s a hit and you’ll do it again.

“But for shooting these kind of satellite movies with the notion that later on you’ll build the planet that they’re orbiting around, and coordinating it all ahead of time, and imagining how the story’s going to work and flow with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, it’s a big deal. You don’t see that level of organization much in movies. You know what I mean? It’s like enough to just get one movie together and off the ground.”

Clearly knowledgeable of the comic characters and excited by the idea of the heroes coming together, Affleck doesn’t shy away from the idea that one day, he could absolutely direct a comic book film, so long as the story and characters meet his expectations.

“I would love it. My interest is really just in, you know, if I like the characters and if the stories seem smart and surprise me. The things that people look for. So those things exist in the superhero genre. And when they do, I think it’s really exciting. I think they exist in the science-fiction genre. If you look at ‘Blade Runner’ to ‘Alien’ to ‘Aliens’ on down through today. So it’s just about finding a good script, honestly. I wouldn’t be into something or not based on the genre.”

Audiences who’ve seen any of Affleck’s three directorial efforts can see why an Afflect-directed superhero flick would be something worth seeing and getting excited about, but what Affleck doesn’t touch on here is the cost of building a shared universe when it comes to the directorial side of it. Christopher Nolan and the success he had with The Dark Knight gave him the all-access pass to do whatever he wanted for the studio. That’s how Inception came to be and that’s why The Dark Knight Rises ended the way Nolan wanted it to end. Neither had studio-forced 3D post-conversion because Nolan didn’t want it.

For directors of Marvel Studios’ films, with the exception of Joss Whedon, they’ve (Jon Favreau, Joe Johnston, Kenneth Branagh) all parted ways and passed on the opportunity to direct the next sequels of their respective Marvel films. The reason is that with a shared big-picture-focused universe, each individual film must include very specific character arcs and plot points in order for them to tie-together and remain consistent. Would Affleck, who’s publicly acknowledged being very picky when it comes to his films, be interested in a Marvel or DC film where he may not have as much creative control as he desires?

Fun Fact: Affleck was a contender to direct Man of Steel, and 13 years ago was rumored to play Batman.

Justice League could hit theaters as early as 2015, but Warner Bros. has yet to officially reveal a time frame.

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Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: HitFix

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58 Comments

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  1. Flash (Barry Allen) is my favorite super hero. I could see Ben doing a good Flash for a JL movie. Besides I think he did a good job as Daredevil. Michael Clarke Duncan had a good performance also. The rest was crap unfortunately.
    I think it would be cool to see Affleck continue on as a scarlet hero.

    • I agree with you. I think he was good in the movie (Daredevil), but the problem came from the script. He’s a comic geek, he knows what character he’s playing…
      well, I agree with you with the Flash thing as well. Eventhough I’d much prefer Ben to be in a Marvel instead of DC hahaha

  2. I actually think Affleck could make a good Daredevil movie – not as an actor (please, never again!) but as a director.

    Looking forward to seeing Argo when it releases here in SA!

  3. I would like to see Affleck direct a DC movie. Not Marvel. Primarily because I don’t think he would fit into their shared universe but maybe direct The Spectre or a Barry Allen Flash movie.

  4. Not Flash, Aquaman!

    • Only if Vincent Chase plays him

      • It’s amazing how little love I have for that show or it’s references after the nosedive it took post-season 3 (aquaman season?). What a piece of turd those last few seasons were. Jesus…

    • Aquaman sucks! xD

      - Rajesh Koothrapali

  5. It would be cool to see him direct a Batman film in which Ryan Gosling plays Batman. Ben Affleck has a proven record of doing good crime films.

    Get Peter Jackson to do Wonder Woman starring Gemma Arterton.

    Get Guillermo Del Toro to do a Cyborg film starring Chadwick Boseman.

    Get Brad Bird to do Green Lantern starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Or get him to do Justice League with Cavill, Gosling, Arterton, Gyllenhaal, and Boseman.

    • Jake Gyllenhaal as Hal Jordan? Dear god no

      • Have you seen Source Code? He basically plays Hal Jordan in that movie. And he does it well. Plus, people know who Gyllenhaal is which is important if you don’t have lead-in films.

        • “He basically plays Hal Jordan in that movie” ???? What? are you high? …he was nothing close to HAL JORDAN my friend

          • Hudson is so high, I’m getting a contact high!

        • If anything shows, Source Code made Gyllenhaal’s character more like Batman rather than Hal Jordan.

    • DC can do it if they play their cards right, they have Batman in Bale, Goslin as Green Lantern and that great Sinestro. Not to mention the new Supes who looks awesome and Gemma as Wonder Woman. That is all.

    • Gemma or Olga would be good for Wonder Woman I think…

      • Although that one & only Lantern film has no connection with the “League” film, that doesn’t mean DC has fully ruled out bringing Ryan Reynolds back to reprise that character.

        • That would be confusing. There’s a reason Routh was not brought back for Man of Steel, and it’s not because he’s a bad actor. It’s because this is a new universe and no one wants to remember Routh’s Superman Returns. Just like how no one wants to remember Reynold’s Green Lantern.

          • That maybe true but DC hasn’t confirmed whether or not they’re doing a reboot or a sequel to Ryan’s film. So if it’s a sequel obviously they would want to bring him back since that movies’ downfall wasn’t his fault but the script that was written for him.

          • keep reynolds as green lantern, just trying to make his GL character into a guy who tells jokes and stop trying to make his GL character so sarcastic.

            • Man. Sorry, Broadway. What I was saying was…they should keep reynolds as GL but should stop trying to make his GL character into a guy who tells jokes and they should not make him so sarcastic.

      • Do you mean Olga Kurylenko? O, I would love that.

        I think Karl Urban would be great as Batman, esp. after Dredd.

        • Are you saying there’s similarities between the two superheroes?

          • No.

            • So what are you basing your opinion on? I mean if your thinking that he’ll play one character as great as another I think that it might be a bit of a stretch seeing as both characters have very little in common.

              • Nevermind.

                • Ugh!!

                  • Well, both Batman and Judge Dredd are dark and gritty characters that fight crime and aren’t afraid to get violent if they have to. That’s a huge similarity.

                    I’d rather see Urban as Dredd though, that movie demands more sequels, it was just too good to leave as one film.

      • Olga who? Olga Kurylenko? Are we talking potential Wonder Women or just listing out Bond Girls for some reason? Halle Berry?

    • Peter jackson?? I do not want a 3 hour WW film

    • Gemma Arterton is HOT AS HE-LL and you even see her Boobies in the kidnapping flick! I dont remember the name but I just saw it like 5 days ago and man she is smokin hot also as IO in clash of the titans

    • gemma arterton could probably pull it off, but she needs to be in the gym to fit the roll excellently. Months ago someone said briget regan. I agree with that pick too, but again, she too needs to lean up for the role.

  6. I could just envision Ben Affleck playing the caped crusader and directing a Justice League movie at the same time, that would’ve been a hoot..

  7. daredevil was trash…and anything with affleck attached to it makes me nervous…stay away from the comic book genre ben…..marvel or DC wont stand a chance with his Gigli’s impersonation

    • Number one….he had no control over Gigli as far as the script went. As far as his directing skills go I think you might be in the minority with your comments on that one. I don’t know personally because I’ve never seen any of his films, but from what I read from other people he seems to be doing great….so far.

      • Having seen Argo and The Town, I can attest that Affleck’s directorial skills are top notch. I’m excited by the prospect of any movie with his name attached as a director. Maybe let him try his hand at a Barry Allen Flash movie.

        • Plus Affleck’s a comic book nerd so wouldn’t we want one of our own who has a proven track record as far as directing with the handful of movies under his belt so far?

          It’d be like passing up the chance to have a street dancer helping choreograph a street dance contest and bringing in a ballerina instead, y’know?

  8. What iconic character is in every one of those pictures above and has not yet had a modern movie?

    DUH! Get Wonder Woman her own damn movie, get some buzz going, and move forward with this thing! I cringe that WW will have a bit part in the so-far-male-hero DC movie universe. The only woman character they’ve portrayed so far is Catwoman.

    • “Get Wonder Woman her own damn movie, get some buzz going, and move forward with this thing!”

      You make it sound sooooo easy. Maybe you should be running Warner Bros./DC instead of the intelligent/creative people who work there now.

      • intelligent and creative ppl that work there now???? are you serious or just stupid!! they are COMPLETE MORONS when it comes to CB movies, NOLAN did his own thing it had nothing to do with WB/DC they cant make a good movie even if it fell out of the sky and hit them on the head,, THEY NEED intelligent and creative ppl to start working for them

    • The point of Justice League is to advertise characters like Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Green Lantern by featuring them along side WB’s money-makers: Batman and Superman. Once people know them from Justice League, they are much more likely to be able to carry solo superhero films.

      • CYBORG would probably be in JL 2 or 3 if it ever happens

      • I see your point but I’m inclined to disagree. Using the best example to show you that a theory like that isn’t always going to be true, here’s my 2 cents.

        The Avengers as a group = Box office money making winning machine.

        The Avengers as individuals……Not so much.

        In case you didn’t know before but The Hulk was the only one who didn’t strike Gold in terms of box office success like the rest of his teammates did. That’s why MARVEL is now hesitant on giving him another solo film right now. Think about that for a moment…..the most popular member of the group made the least amount of cash.

        So why would you automatically feel that anyone(except “The Big 2″)from the Justice League would be successful in their own film?

        • @ Broadway

          It is important for you to know that the Hulk movie did do well at the box office. However, the reason why it did not make more was because, according to Screenrant, Ed Norton did not advertise the movie. This was due to a falling out between he and Marvel (either over money or more screen time). I remember 4 years ago I wrote into screenrant ranting about why there were no trailers for the movie at least 1-2 months in advance before the opening, which is the norm for any movie.

          So while you claim that “The Hulk was the only one who didn’t strike Gold in terms of box office success like the rest of his teammates did,” as you put it, know that the Hulk was the only one whose main actor had a falling out with the company who owns the character.

          • The reason why you say it did or didn’t do well is highly irrelevant. The whole point of my comment was based on superstar status. Let me refresh your memory in case you didn’t understand what I wrote the first time. “the most popular member of the group made the least amount of cash.” What I meant by that wasn’t the fact that I thought his film failed. It didn’t do as well as the others which you had basically just repeated yourself. How didn’t you pick up on that which is what I was basically saying all along?

            It has nothing to do with promoting anything or having beef with anybody. It’s about characters popularity status plain & simple. The characters sell themselves which is why I was surprised….let me repeat myself….why The Hulk “didn’t do as well as his other teammates solo films”. Do you think for one second that any “actor” has to convince people to go see a Superman,Spider-Man, or Batman movie….Hell No!!!, & if you do you really don’t understand how this business works. Characters like these who have A-list quality can get many people to show up & support them no matter what the circumstances are.

            • @ Broadway

              LOL, alright, I do see your point now that it is early morning. I have to admit it was late for me last night and while I should have went to bed I was up ranting on screenrant. I just now noticed the huge amount of typos I left last night when replying to your comment about green lantern (above), because I was TWT (typing while tired).

  9. Did he say “they have no script, they’ve got nothing.”? They have nothing and JL is supposed to be out in 2015?!?!?!? Get on the ball DC/WB!!!!!!

    • That kinda scared me too, but I think he only meant that they have nothing FINALIZED yet – which is normal for a movie still a few years away.
      They just don’t have anything concrete to show possible directors and actors yet.
      Of course, I could very well be wrong.

  10. I kind of sensed the anger the DC fans were feeling when they got to the part where Ben Affleck calls the justice league “DC Avengers”

  11. I want a Wonder Woman portrayed like a mix of 300, a somewhat more realistic Clash of the Titans, and most importantly, steal steal steal from XENA.

    Make it nearly in the style of what we’re seeing with Man of Steel but toned back a little bit – if it’s over-stylized it won’t be taken seriously enough, and WW really needs to be taken seriously. And probably have a female writer because they’re the ones who have been kicking butt with the tv shows. And look where Whedon’s landed.

    Directors, I don’t know yet. Nolan’s too drama-oriented, Snyder’s too stylish, Jackson’s too epic. I don’t know. I would definitely be against Gemma Arterton…it might be the roles she’s been given but she went out soft in Quantum of Solace and she irritated she heck out of me in Prince of Persia. I’m not sure if it was her or the script/character but it just made me itch on the inside.

    Actresses.

    ~Lynn Collins could definitely look the part, especially if she did that half-lidded blasé look going on. Befitting of an Amazonian warrior…ha.

    ~Jamie Alexander from Thor could also match up. Not sure if fans would be fond of the Marvel/DC dual loyalty though.

    ~Finally, I think the best well-rounded pick would Jessica Biel. Good enough name, pretty, looks tough,and can act. That’s the main thing taking away from Gina Carano – all she is is everybody’s favorite female fighter who happened to try acting a few times. But it doesn’t mean she’s an actress.

    ~And to round all of this off, I would LOVE to see Olivia Wilde in the part. I know she doesn’t fit the classic image of Wonder Woman, but she would lend a nice exotic-looking accent to it. Her cat eyes and relatively slender build would give the actors room to add to the mysticism of her abilities. And she’s just gorgeous enough to look at for 2-3 hours.

    So my ranking: 1. Olivia Wilde 2. Jessica Biel 3. Lynn Collins 4. Jamie Alexander.

    ———————–

    Batman: Either keep the same suit Nolan had, or else make it a realistic version from the comics. A thick, technology-texture shirt that would be like military prototype, over a thin armor/padding system. Like how shin guards are under soccer socks. Leather gloves with knuckles or padding in them. Really similar to what a billionaire would put together in his basement, then use his money to improve and perfect a bit. And have a hard, scowl-molded cowl similar to Nolan’s, but with a leather-rubber material stretched over it that merges out into the cape. Basically, same as the video game.

    And for whatever actor they have, make sure he’s ripped as heck. Same way as Cavill as Superman. Batman’s a physical threat more than anything – no superpowers to help him out after all. For the particular actor, I nominate Wes Bentley as always. Please, seriously – let’s get Bentley into the cape and cowl. He will be awesome as Batman and good as Bruce Wayne.

  12. I think lynn collins is the best out of your four picks for wonder wowman. Let’s all admit it…her role in John Carter was basically her audition for any wonder woman movie that is being lined up. She looked just like her, and she was fit in that film. However, I think they should keep looking for someone who is possibly a better wonder woman look-a-like, just in case. Lynn collin’s appearance in John Carter should be the casting director’s reference. However, I don’t think I would mind if she was given the role.

    On Bats. I didn’t like Nolan’s version of the bat suit. I disagree with bentley. Bat’s is muscular because bruce wayne is muscular. Bentley is not “ripped,” as you put it, at all. Physically, Wayne is an imposing figure.

    • I agree with that, how small he is so far…so we can give him Henry Cavill’s Superman workout, Tom Hardy’s Bane workout, or Gerard Butler’s 300 workout. It might be cool to see Bentley put on those 20lbs after a few months with Hollywood’s trainers, eh?

      • Yeah, i think cavil would have also made an excellent bruce wayne and batman. he is fit, and has the face and hair for bruce wayne and for the cowl. One thing I did not like about bale’s batman was that the neck of the suit was too thin whenever he had it on. The cowl itself was large and the torso and shoulder areas were broad, making his neck look like a pencil in comparison. I think they thought the same thing which is why in one of the first posters, Bale is in the bat suit crouching his head downward in a way where you could not see the skinniness of the neck. I guess what i am asking for is for an actor that has a broad neck, along with a muscular build, to fill in all aspects of the suit well. I think cavill would have been an excellent choice.

        • Yeah, but Cavill’s cast already. Kind of looks too good boy too. Do you not think Bentley could bulk up sufficiently? Cavill wasn’t so big (same size as Bale while Cavill was in Tudors) until he started getting put through all those action hero movies.

          I wasn’t too hot for the pencil neck either. But that was the costume alone – anyone’s neck would have looked small. But the big-ass rubber cowls don’t work either…that’s why I think they should have the hard cowl with leathery material fitted over it and extending down until it forms the cape. It would be more visceral, organic and scary. Like he’s an actual creature.

          • For me, bentley just doesn’t look like bruce wayne, even in the face, so him bulking up probably still wouldn’t do it for me. I like your idea about making the suit somewhat like the suit in batman arkum city (the video game). I just hope that when the justice league comes out, there are scenes where Batman has his cape draped around him while standing, like he is usually portrayed. I’m hoping cavill makes a good superman, too. But again he does look like bruce wayne.

  13. I wish James Cameron give up these all ultra save the world theme all the time and go back to his origin(movie aliens comes to my mind(and to some extend, true lies and terminator) and direct a huge super hero movies w/ imax camera. I understand he had deep interest of directing a spiderman movie before it all went down south.

  14. I was admittedly skeptical when I heard about him possibly directing the JL movie, but after his recent and proven success I would MUCH rather he be given the job rather than a lot of others out there.

    @Rob Keyes…….always appreciate it when you use Alex Ross art :)

  15. As stoked as I will be for a shared universe movie from DC about their ensemble cast for
    their iconic superheroes in 2015, I am, however, quiet cautious about the Warner leadership unconventionally introducing these gestating figures through one explosive plot. Trying to introduce each of the separate characters through one movie is a dauntingly risky move, not only from a fiscal point of view but from a thematic one. What concerns us more is the latter one. Clearly, trying to write a story that will properly be able to encompass all the different background story arch of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Flash and reboot Batman will convolute the overall story, thereby making it difficult for audiences to encapsulate the overall picture. Generally speaking, good movies are attuned to niche storylines. It would make sense to follow the marvel path by giving a fair amount of attention to all of our superheroes separately and then bringing them together into one JLA movie, even if it will mean postponing the date for a JLA movie for another three years. Remember, stalling the movie would be an infinitely better option than doing a horrible job of it and single handedly making it a colossal embarrassment as well as ruining potential sequels. However, if done well, this unconventional method could perhaps turn out to be a novelty strategy. Such would only be possible if the Warner Bros. entourage could somehow focus on as little characters as possible, thereby developing more effectively on a more restricted story arch, while leaving the climactic buildup as being open to the calling out for the need for other superheroes for protection from even greater threats in future movies. This, then, could be a more subtle approach to introducing Flash and other heroes alike. This would be akin to Michael Bay’s first Transformers movie, where Optimus Prime, at the end of the movie, steps up on top of a hill calling out to other surviving protagonists, asking them to unite for even greater evils to come. As a huge DC fan, I will want Warner Bros. to get their eggs in one basket (or separate ones!) and consider approaching this sensitive situation cautiously regardless of how they approach the JLA team. After all, this movie in 2015, or the lack thereof, will determine the future of the other JLA cast members and whether they will be able to compete with their Marvel counterparts.

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