UPDATE: APRIL FOOLS! – But who should play Darkseid?
It turns out all those jokes about Ben Affleck talking his friends into joining the DC Movie Universe weren't far off the mark. It may not be the role of Robin the Boy Wonder that some fans had hoped for, but Matt Damon bringing Darkseid to life in Justice League is a bit more exciting. And if we're honest... a better use of his talents.
Fans have been waiting impatiently to hear what plan, if any, Zack Snyder and DC Films had for the 'big bad' of the DC Universe, since his Parademon forces were teased as the coming threat back in Batman V Superman. Unfortunately, the villain of JL was soon confirmed to be Darkseid's uncle Steppenwolf, allowing the DCEU to use Apokolips - but leave Darkseid untouched. Thanks to a slip-up from a Justice League producer, that suspense has come to an end - although the size of the role may give fans both a thrill... and some questions.
During a speaking engagement organized by the Producers Guild of America, producer Charles Roven (who previously let Wonder Woman's demigod origin slip) was inevitably asked to comment on the Justice League production. Roven had the usual praise for the film's cast and Snyder's direction, but perhaps assuming his words wouldn't reach media outlets - or implying an official announcement could be coming soon - added another Oscar winner to that group:
... Zack [Snyder] has had his vision of what these characters can be, and you're seeing that building with each movie. Justice League is going to, we believe, connect people to these heroes even more. Ben's [Affleck] Batman is finding hope, but also finding newer, younger people that the audience will hopefully connect to. And then we'll keep building on that as we go. It's the same thinking with Darkseid, who we've had Matt Damon give a performance for... that even in the few scenes you get with him, there's more going on than just a typical bad guy. You want to know his story, but that comes later.
Since Darkseid, like Steppenwolf, is expected to be a completely CG character, it would make sense for Damon to have had both his audio and visual performance captured for digital animators and artists (also explaining how the casting was kept under wraps for this long, despite rumblings that the role had been filled).
Assuming Darkseid's role will be heavy on the brooding, or issuing commands to his underlings following the failure of Steppenwolf (we're assuming the good guys win), it's wise to hold off on assuming Damon will play Darkseid permanently. The scenes mentioned by Roven are plural, which could mean an appearance commanding troops in Justice League's opening battle scenes as well as an ending, mid- or post-credits tease. But if those scenes are that separated from the League heroes, and still of a "cameo" nature, secondary to the plot, it's possible Damon was offered the part for the time being (something of an easter egg to fans, and an inside joke among friends). Without knowing how demanding the role is, it's hard to predict beyond Justice League.
The audio of Roven was cut short, but the attendee who recorded it reports that Roven then hinted Damon was caught up in the notoriously energetic, competitive, and recreational tone to Zack Snyder's set. It sounds as though his time in performance capture wasn't limited to Darkseid alone, getting a chance to put his recent rigorous workouts to use in some stunt work (as in mocap choreography, not actual filmed stunts). It sounds like a small sequence, possibly even a handful of shots donning the famous 'mocap pajamas' and acting out a short exchange of blows with Ben Affleck's Batman (the fact that it was Affleck, and not his stuntman sparring with Damon suggests it was a less intensive or dangerous scene).
Still, the idea that a faceless, nameless Parademon taking and receiving shots from Batman could actually be Matt Damon overlaid with CG armor and flesh more than makes good on the playful back-and-forth between the two over a potential superhero role for Damon. Although Roven did suggest (without a hint of humor, oddly) that Damon's involvement had something to do with a bit of money owed by one to the other... but we're assuming that's just adding color to the story.
The strangest detail Roven offered, as reported by the attendee, was that Damon was actually called on to fill-in for the exchange between Batman and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon when actor J.K. Simmons was called away from the set. Since Damon and Simmons share the same height and surprisingly ripped physique, Damon stepped in to help. Roven went on to compliment the state of current visual effects, since audiences had already seen Damon's performance in the Justice League trailer, with J.K. Simmons' face digitally 'wrapped' around Damon's skull - a fact nobody actually noticed ("not even the mustache").
Assuming there were still some in attendance who doubted Damon's versatility, Roven dropped what is likely the real bombshell of the evening. Zack Snyder's mission to return Batman to the light will be the focal point of Justice League, and that renewed energy will be extended to the rest of his arsenal and Batcave - beginning with his signature ride. Once Damon heard Snyder's pitch, he was sold. Retrieving two Hoverboards™ from his van, Damon stunned all present with a Batmobile performance the likes of which had never been seen nor wished.
Knowing some may not believe Damon was so selfless an artist, Roven produced his iPhone to show the audience some of the footage, scrubbing through what looked to be hours of Damon driving through the mocap studio expertly balanced on all fours. "It was the happiest I had seen him since Three Kings," Roven recalled wistfully. (Editor's note: that was actually Mark Wahlberg in Three Kings).
As astounding as these insights may be, it's really Zack Snyder who deserves the credit. Sure, he sold Jason Momoa on a Pacific Islander Aquaman... but selling Oscar winner Matt Damon on playing The Batmobile might actually be the performance that fans demand to see more of when all is said and done.
Roven ended his talk by hinting that Damon also attempted a few scenes as Wonder Woman's shield, but that was more his idea than anyone else's - but offered a word of hope that it "might make the Blu-ray").
Check out the full transcript HERE, and stay tuned for more Justice League updates.
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Source: Windows LiveJournal