When Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the announcement was met with a great deal of scorn by the comic book community, with many fearing that the Man of Steel followup would become Daredevil 2.0. Though the director’s cut of the 2003 feature film has its supporters, the theatrical cut that many saw was considered one of the more underwhelming entries in the genre – with mixed critical reception and lukewarm (compared to similar titles) box office performance.
The project sent Affleck’s career in a downward spiral that took the Oscar winner several years (and a reinvention of himself as a director) to bounce back from. But if things had played out differently when Daredevil was being developed, it may have been Affleck’s friend Matt Damon looking to rebound from Matt Murdock’s lone cinematic outing.
In an interview with the NY Daily News, Damon revealed that he was originally offered the lead in Twentieth Century Fox’s superhero film, but backed out due to his unfamiliarity with director Mark Steven Johnson’s work:
“For us it was always ‘Daredevil’ — that’s the comic we read when we were kids. But when that one came along [in 2003] I chickened out, because I couldn’t tell. I hadn’t seen the director [Mark Steven Johnson’s] work and I didn’t know. So I just said, ‘No.’ Ben was like, ‘I gotta do it.’”
It’s interesting to consider what Daredevil may have looked like if Damon had accepted the role. It’s true that Affleck’s performance as Murdock scored positive marks among some fans, but could Damon have fit the part just as well – if not better? By the time Daredevil hit theaters, the actor had already proven himself as a viable action hero thanks to his turn in 2002’s The Bourne Identity. He easily could have blended the dual personas of Daredevil into a compelling portrayal.
However, even Damon’s talents may not have been enough to elevate Daredevil. He proved to be prophetic in his decision to turn the Murdock role down, as a majority of the film’s issues stem from, depending on who you ask, Johnson’s handling of the material. Many critics felt that Johnson told a dull story, failing to bring anything new to the genre. And in recent years, Affleck has proven he is be a talented actor when working with strong directors like… himself and David Fincher. So this is more about the filmmaker being right for the movie rather than the lead.
As fun as it might be to theorize how the Daredevil movie would have differed with Damon as the star, it’s all a moot point at this juncture. Fans of The Man Without Fear finally have an interpretation of the character thanks to Marvel’s Daredevil Netflix series that premiered to rave reviews this year. As for Affleck, he seems to be on the path to a superhero redemption of his own, as his Bruce Wayne/Batman has won more and more people over as Batman V Superman marketing revs up. So in the end, everyone involved might end up a winner.
Daredevil season 2 will premiere on Netflix in 2016. Matt Damon can next been seen in The Martian on October 2, 2015.
Source: NY Daily News