Two-time Academy Award winner Ben Affleck is no stranger to superhero cinema. The foul-mouthed Falmouthian graduated from Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse, itself deeply steeped in the culture of comics, to play the first live-action incarnation of attorney-turned-vigilante Matt Murdock in the 2003 movie Daredevil before going on to become the latest in a long line of actors to portray the Caped Crusader on the big-screen in the DC Extended Universe installments Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, and, briefly, Suicide Squad.
In between, he also turned in a performance as real-life actor George Reeves, who in turn played Clark Kent throughout the 1950s on Adventures of Superman, in the 2006 biopic Hollywoodland, and was, for a time, set to once more don the cowl of the Dark Knight in the forthcoming film The Batman. Originally intent on pulling quadruple duty on the project as producer, director, writer, and star, Affleck coscripted the story – which was said to be set in Arkham Asylum while examining the horrors of insanity, not unlike last year’s Academy Award winning Joker – with former DC Comics President and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.
Speaking with Jake Hamilton, Affleck explained why he gradually stepped away from all four roles and the DCEU entirely, saying:
“It just so happened that I had done a couple of those movies, and I kind of lost my passion for it… And it just seemed, like, very clear to me that if it’s not the most important thing in the world to you, you’re not going to make a very good movie. The movie deserves to be made by someone who’s dying to do it.”
Discussing his “mostly original” storyline, he said:
“I showed somebody The Batman script. They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again’.”
In the end, directorial control would be turned over to Matt Reeves, producing credits would be turned over to Reeves and Dylan Clark, and screenwriting duties would be turned over to Reeves and Mattson Tomlin. The role of a younger Bruce Wayne in his sophomore year of operation, meanwhile, would go to The Lighthouse co-star Robert Pattinson, and Affleck, like fellow superhero portrayer Robert Downey Jr., is enthusiastic to see what the Englishman brings to the part. “I think Robert’s a great actor,” he told Hamilton. “He’s going to do great.”
Affleck can be seen next in the basketball drama The Way Back on March 6th, while The Batman premieres on June 25th.