Easily one of the most divisive, and surprising, revelations of the last year was the September announcement that Ben Affleck would portray the Dark Knight in the Man of Steel sequel, temporarily titled Batman vs. Superman. Prior to the official word of Affleck as Batman from Warner Bros., rumors began to circulate that the studio was looking to cast a slightly older actor in the role, someone that could portray a Batman that had already been active in Gotham for years, as opposed to a younger "origin" story take. After a number of high profile actors had been rumored, including Josh Brolin, Joe Manganiello, Matthew Goode, and Max Martini, we put together our own choices for who could play an aged Dark Knight on screen but the part eventually went to Affleck - much to the excitement of moviegoers who appreciate the actor/director's recent work (especially The Town as well as Argo) and the chagrin of those who still haven't forgiven him for Mark Steven Johnson's Daredevil movie.
Despite all the controversy, Affleck has been surprisingly (and/or smartly) quiet on the subject, only speaking about the part in a tongue-in-cheek late night appearance and brief comments about how his Batman will differ from prior interpretations. Now, only days after Man of Steel star Henry Cavill promised that Affleck will be "fantastic" as Batman, thanks to what Cavill described as "strength of character" as well as a "dedication to the work and belief in oneself," the new Dark Knight is offering further insight into what fans can expect when he puts on the batcape and cowl.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Affleck responded to a pair of Batman vs. Superman questions - discussing how he approaches a high-profile role like Batman as well as the "exciting" realism that director Zack Snyder is bringing to the character.
First, check out what the actor had to say about the pressures of taking on the fan-favorite superhero and whether or not he feels as though goodwill (or ongoing dislike) from his past work will affect how he plays Batman:
I mean, that’s the sort of great and terrible thing about this business. Each project is kind of in its own silo, you know what I mean? You do something, it works, people say it works. And if the next one doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t. You don’t get to start ahead because you did well last time. Without getting into the vagaries of the internet and who’s sort of out there being vocal about it, at the end of the day, when you get into the arena of those kinds of movies, these superhero movies, particularly ones that are working with characters that everyone’s known for so long, everybody’s got these strongly held opinions and preconceived ideas about what it should be. I totally understand and recognize that. At the same time, I don’t think projections about something that hasn’t happened yet are all that meaningful. I think at the end of the day, it’s like any other movie or project: You go out and make it great, people will say it’s great. If you go out and miss, you’ll hear about it. The stuff beforehand is kind of just the noise that happens.
Affleck's opinion on the matter echoes what a lot of fans were saying in the wake of his casting: whether you're excited, appalled, or indifferent to the choice, ultimately, it is up to the actor and Snyder to prove it was a smart decision. It's admirable that Affleck is sensitive to why people are passionate, and sometimes opinionated, about their favorite characters but, while we all love to predict and anticipate upcoming projects, most of us do not yet know exactly what the filmmakers are going for in this next interpretation of the character. Maybe Affleck isn't the Batman that some were expecting, based on what they wanted to see from a new version of the DC hero, but that doesn't mean he isn't a great choice for the iteration that Snyder and Warner Bros. need in a Superman team-up.
As for what that version might entail, details are still very scarce on what Snyder has in store - aside from confirmation that his Caped Crusader is an established crime fighter. A couple weeks back, following an interview event for the Man of Steel Blu-ray release, moderator Kevin Smith was shown an image of Affleck in the Batman vs. Superman batsuit - which the director/comic book writer described as "mind-bending" and unlike anything ever seen on film before. Smith later redacted a statement teasing which comic book design might have been an inspiration for the new batsuit (we've listed five possibilities) and while Affleck doesn't provide any specifics about the design, the actor expressed his excitement for Snyder's skill at balancing realism and world-building within a comic book movie.
In fact, above all else, Affleck promises that when the Batman vs. Superman movie hits theaters, the Dark Knight and Man of Steel won't just look like a pair of Mexican wrestlers in suits:
Well, I don’t want to get too far afield and I’m sure I’ll have time to talk about Batman down the road. What I’ll say is that I really like Zack. From what I’ve seen of what’s Zack is doing, it’s made me very excited. One of the nice things about being an actor in that movie is they show you all the stuff before anyone else gets to see it. So all the sort of world-creation, and the take on the character and the other characters is really exciting. And at the end of the day, the truth is it’s really directors that make movies work or not — especially these kinds of movies, where it’s about the whole world, and a rising tide lifts all ships. And if it all has integrity, if it all has a sense of realism, then it works. And if it doesn’t, [then] it doesn’t really matter what everyone’s doing [on the screen] because they just look like a bunch of Mexican wrestlers in suits.
We'll certainly look forward to more details from Affleck when he actually does take time "to talk about Batman down the road" but, in the meantime, the actor's comments are certainly encouraging. At first, some fans were skeptical that DC and Warner Bros. had a solid plan for their shared movie universe, and even though an Aquaman movie, an appearance from Cyborg, or a standalone Wonder Woman adventure might all be a ways off, it's a relief to see the amount of thought and care that appears to be going into the superhero project at hand. Hopefully, as Affleck himself points out, Snyder can silence skeptics with a great take on Batman in an exciting new Superman tale.
Man of Steel 2/Batman vs. Superman will be released July 17, 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Batman vs. Superman as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.
Source: Entertainment Weekly