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Seth Green & I Share A Similar Opinion On Ben Affleck’s Batman Casting


Yes, it’s true. Some actors are nerds and have strong opinions just like us. In this instance, Seth Green has a few things to say about the next Batman actor. 

The former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star was recently interviewed by Larry King and asked his thoughts on the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel. You may remember I was pretty angry after hearing the news (the internet had varied reactions). Turns out, Green isn’t too thrilled with the choice either.

“I guess it really depends on what Batman you’re playing, and I think that comic book fans have gotten used to the idea that modern, mainstream is accepting of interpretations of this characters with more gravitas. You know we’re past the time of Adam West’s kind of goofy interpretation of Batman,” he initially told King.

Green mentioned he loved Michael Keaton (who recently reminisced about his time as Batman) in the role, doesn’t think George Clooney got a fair shake, and thinks Christian Bale was great in the part. “You gotta remember that at the core of that character, Batman’s a crazy person. Batman has no powers,” he argued. “Batman is a rich, screwed up kid whose parents were killed in front of him who, with his money and insanity, decided to become a vigilante symbol to combat darkness.”

So what’s his actual argument against Affleck?

The notion of Superman versus Batman or Superman and Batman is, that’s a long-standing thing in the comics. It’s a long-standing thing in the comic. When they were in the Justice League together, the most common bump between them is that Superman is like, ‘I won’t ever kill people,’ and Batman is like, ‘Well you do whatcha gotta do.’ And they bump heads a lot. If this movie is meant to be the idealistic alien, humans before all else Superman, and this is supposed to be the grizzled, weathered Batman who’s been living in Gotham, fighting crime himself for 10 years, you need a guy who’s older, you need a guy who’s got more weight, and you need a guy that a Henry Cavill Superman is gonna be actually scared of. You have to remember that Batman is just a dude. He’s got no powers. So the fact that Superman is scared of him, says something about the gravitas that he carries. And it’s not just because he’s willing to kill. He’s scary.

But, King interjected, “Affleck is a very good actor, and you’re supposed to act.” Green replied, “Yes, but, there is only so much that you can act a role before people are or are not going to believe you in that role. I’m never going to play, um, you know, an MMA fighter, because I’d step into the ring with an actual MMA fighter like Batista and I wouldn’t look correct. So there is a physicality of it.”

Some in Hollywood have certainly come out in support of Affleck. Joss Whedon for one, Batman films producer Michael Uslan for another. I’m still not happy with it but it’s “wait and see” mode now. If you’re interested, you catch watch the entire Green/King interview on Hulu.

(via The Wrap)

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  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Why is he saying comic Batman is willing to kill? That’s never been my understanding of Batman. When has comic Batman ever killed someone?

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    It hasn’t happened recently to my knowledge but Batman has certainly killed in the comics.

  • Anonymous

    Right. What he’s talking about is presence. Afflek just doesn’t have that deep, brooding, badass presence. He might pull off a good performance, but he doesn’t have the vibe. It’s something your born with. A good example is Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner. That dude’s got it!

  • Brett W

    Batman killed in the early days. The REALLY early days. But generally speaking, no. Batman Isn’t willing to kill. However, he’s very good at being scary enough to convince other people that he is.

  • Anonymous

    He’s been in a superhero movie once: Daredevil. *shudder* I think being cast as Nick Dunne in Gone Girl is better suited to him as a role. I can see him as “pretending to be a playboy” style Bruce Wayne, but…yeah I’m not seeing any kind of gritty Batman here. Then again, I had my doubts about Heath Leger as the Joker.

  • http://pontoonification.blogspot.com/ AverageDrafter

    Apparently Senreich is the actual comic book nerd of the two. While you can always find instances of Batman (or Supes for that matter) knocking a guy off, its mostly either Golden Age or extremly rare (and usually retconned).

    The willingness to kill, however, had never been anything close to “the common bump” between Superman and Batman.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Very enlightening, especially the Cracked article (jfc frank miller). But now I’m pissed at Batman for being pissed at Wonder Woman for justifiably killing Max Lord. What the hell.

  • Lilian Bobadilla

    I don’t think that is just that Batman is willing to kill, but more of I will do whatever it takes, including killing someone for the greater good kind of deal. Batman is the kind of guy that likes to be prepare for the worst case scenario, he is the only one (besides Luthor probably) who is ready to deal with a Rogue Superman (or any other Rogue Superhero), because he has consider the possibility and if killing him is what it takes to stop him he is willing to do it, if that is the last resort.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Yeah, I assume that’s the idea Seth Green was getting at, but for him to phrase it as “Batman’s willing to kill” paints the wrong picture of Batman (and when considering the death count in Man of Steel, it makes it sound like we should expect Batfleck to be stabbing people to death, left and right).

  • Anonymous

    He’s a scrawny guy, but how much fun would it be to have Clint Eastwood Batman vs. young superman? Thin, but intimidating.

  • Cad Wallader

    Pretty sure Rutger Hauer wasn’t born anything like his character in Blade Runner. Whatever presence he has, he crafted through experience and training. No actor just shows up with presence, that’s ridiculous, and offensive to the actors that worked hard to project that aura.

    Example: Chris Walken is one of the goofiest, sweetest guys in the world.

  • Gordon Borland

    I’d rather the film took inspiration from the large chunk of comic history where Superman and Batman were actually friends with each other.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Return keeps being mentioned as the inspiration so it’s very unlikely.

  • EricP

    Arkham City Spoilers ***********

    Batman didn’t kill Joker, but he didn’t save him either, and was willing to let both Joker and himself die to protect Gotham.

    As for Affleck, I’m in the wait and see camp on that one. I’m more interested to see how they fit Wonder Woman into the story.

  • Gordon Borland

    Oh I know it was more wishful thinking than anything. It’s saddening that DNR became one of the defining books of the two’s relationship.

  • Amourah

    Like old Bruce in Batman Beyond? Don’t mess with that old codger! Terry learned that the hard way. Also don’t call him grandpa…

  • http://www.gradientcomics.com/ Rob Payne

    To be fair, Max Lord isn’t usually the existential threat that Darkseid always is.

    Also, to be even more fair, I don’t know the storyline you’re referencing. Just speaking generally. Feel free to shoot that argument full of holes using Morrison-Grade Anti-Anti-Life bullets.

  • http://www.gradientcomics.com/ Rob Payne

    Yeah, I feel like it’s the extra-legality of what Batman does vs. the “follow the rule of law” that Superman represents that causes the most friction. Plus, they just have very different personalities.

  • Skol Troll

    OK, I’m going “Argo All In” here, as it’s Affleck’s ONE (and probably most recent) performance that could be compared to the Dark Knight.

    Here’s my take: He *was* Batman in that movie, with a couple rather big caveats. He basically had to take on a nasty, up-and-coming revolutionary gov’t to save people, and he had nothing but whatever he could carry into Iran. He made a plan, put his all-too-human life on the line, went in and got it done. And frankly, his exasperated “why aren’t you listening to me? It’s my job.” was very believable. So if he taps into it, he’s almost there. Plus, he had gray in his beard. This isn’t “Chasing Amy” Ben Affleck anymore. He HAS aged and looks the “I’ve been at this a while” part.

    Here are the caveats, though, in Argo v. the Bats:
    1) He was understanding in Argo. It would be easier for a guy to go “I don’t give two [poops] about your thoughts. You’re doing this, so shut up.” If you see the movie, he *kinda* did this.
    2) Emo/caring/Affleckian stuff *oozed* off the screen. You sympathized with him. You knew he was good, and you knew he was flawed, but he was *just a guy.* THESE two things need to absolutely DISAPPEAR in his portrayal.
    Maybe if Affleck can “let go” of his true-life persona and unlock all the hate he probably has towards the Affleck-haters, he’ll knock it out of the park.

  • Ryan Colson

    There is also the hilariously reposted moment fr Jeckyl and Hyde where Bats kicks a Two Face thug in the junk and his concealed gun fires, do theoretically Batman murdered dozens of unborn children..

  • Ryan Colson

    it is from the pre imf crisis omac project stuff

  • Anonymous

    I think Affleck faces a disadvantage in that his natural mouth shape seems to be a pout-lipped moue. That and his heavy-lidded eyes make him seem sulky and sleepily annoyed at the world. Batman may be pretty damn annoyed at the world, but his response is about as opposite to sulking as you can get. Can Affleck do thin-lipped, grim determination? I guess we’ll find out.

  • http://andrewbudadams.blogspot.com/ A B Adams

    Also, if he loves Michael Keaton’s Batman he’s possibly basing his comments off the Burton films, in which Batman kills frequently.

  • Harrison Grey

    The Cracked article is questionable, as several are from the first couple of years, when Batman was essentially struggling to come out of the shadow of, well, the Shadow. Not long after these issues, Batman pointedly says to Robin that they “never kill”.
    Another entry is All Star Batman and Robin, which is both out of continuity, and written by a genuinely crazy person. KGBeast and the junkyard fights are the only ones of that list I’d count, and I put those in extenuating circumstances.

    In general, it makes more sense for Batman to not just not kill. Chris Sims of Comics Alliance has talked about this (many, many times), but the basic point is that a killing is what started him down his path of fighting crime; murder is the crime that most represents evil to him, therefore of all actions possible, killing is the top of his won’t do list.

  • locuas

    to be fair, it was DARKSEID, as in the one undefeateable, unstoppable and completely overpowered being that not even SUPERMAN could hope to defeat in a fair fight, with enough military power to conquer earth if he feel like and incredible intelligent. It’s like if Godzilla was intelligent, was aware we were intelligent, yet he was destroying cities and killing people just because it amuses him. It is not like the joker or the riddle. this is a force that you cannot hope to stop without killing it, and if you don’t stop it, the planet earth is doomed.

  • Pythia

    I agree with this–even if you take the Nolan Batman who “doesn’t have to save” Ras from death, he’s not actively running around offing people. It’s the (very) thin line he doesn’t cross…which makes the Snyder Superman/Nolan-ish batman combo kind of strange. The tension between them to my mind wasn’t one of “kill/don’t kill” but “people can be trusted and want to be good (even the bad ones), they just need a good model to inspire them” (Superman via the Kents) vrs. “People can’t all be trusted and the bad ones need a good demon to scare them into behaving” (Bats via ‘My parents are dead!’) Having a Superman who snaps necks tilts the whole relationship off kilter.

  • Mark Brown

    They can be friends and still be polar opposites. In many ways, that’s ~why~ they’re friends.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a cop-out to say that Batman’s Golden Age murders don’t count because he was just a Shadow clone at that point. It’s just as valid as any of the interprations of Batman that have featured into DC’s continually shifting canon. It’s true that most modern versions of Batman won’t kill, but that doesn’t mean original murderous Batman should be entirely dismissed.

    Sims writes about Batman very well but sometimes he presents Batman as too infailable. He even had a problem with a story where Batman leaps out of the way of two criminals trying to kill him who accidentally shot each other to death as a result. Modern Batman doesn’t intentionally want to kill anybody, but he’s doesn’t have the superpowers necessary to prevent all deaths around him. If his go to move is throwing metal boomerangs at people’s heads it’s not inconceivable that some of those peole won’t be getting up ever again.

  • Mark Brown

    I always read the difference being that Clark is an optimist, who believes that people are fundamentally good (they just forget sometimes), while Batman is a pessimist (and control freak), who believes that people are fundamentally monsters and that someone has to scare them into line. That’s why they ~both~ hold themselves to an impossible standard and refuse to take a life under any circumstances.

    (And Diana is the realist, who thinks that ~some~ people are good, and ~some~ people need to be removed from the world.)

    Also the “Clark is real, Superman is the mask” versus “Batman is real, Bruce is the mask” thing, but these movies have already thrown out that part of “Clark.”

  • Anonymous

    One of my favourite comics with the Batman-Superman dynamic is Kingdom Come, and I think Mark Waid encapsulated exactly what I believe to be not the “most common bump” between them, but the one thing which they share above all else:

    “The deliberate taking of human life – even super-human life – goes against every belief I have – and that YOU have. That’s the one thing we’ve always had in common. It’s what’s made us what we are. More than anyone in the world, when you scratch everything else away from Batman, you’re left with someone who doesn’t want to see anybody else die.”

    To me, that *explains everything* about Batman & Superman’s approach to Thou Shalt Not Kill. Batman saw his parents die before him, and vowed that he would fight to stop that from happening to anyone else. Likewise, Superman’s entire world was destroyed, and he will strive to stop that from happening to Earth. That’s what makes them who they are.

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  • J Ritchey

    I’m with him except for the killing bit. Yes Bruce has killed in various incarnations (so has Clark), but throughout the bulk of both characters’ depictions–and especially incarnations where they interact–both are strongly opposed to taking lives. I don’t think that’s ever been a point of contention between the two and I have trouble seeing where you could go to even find instances that could be viably re-interpreted to fit that assessment.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I have not seen a single example that Affleck can give a strong dramatic performance, be intimidating, or have a performance that is mature/seasoned. He’s a decent director and he can sometimes write okay, but in acting he just doesn’t have that intensity necessary to portray Batman. I can barely see him playing careless playboy Bruce.

  • Harrison Grey

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5ju0fDMneXA/S_d7BslXaoI/AAAAAAAAAhc/t2vhgVC7Dww/s400/Batman+4-2+-8+recut.JPG

    I must defer to this panel from Batman #4, in 1940, written by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, where Batman clearly tells Robin, “Remember, we never kill with weapons of any kind!” It’s not so much a cop out as it is that the original creators changed their minds (granted, with some encouragement from their editor Whitney Ellsworth), and in the early days of comic books when continuity wasn’t quite the thing it is today (or more accurately, the thing it mostly was a couple times in the 80′s, maybe), they were entitled to say that all previous stories didn’t count. They were clearly presenting from that point forward a version of Batman who didn’t, and had never, killed.

    I’ll somewhat agree about Sims; I think occasionally his opinions are a bit extreme in regards to individual instances, but I tend to lean towards his bigger picture viewpoint. And I agree, Batman cannot prevent certain deaths, even those that could ostensibly be considered at his hands, but presenting Batman as someone who is “willing to kill” because of some panels from a time period before the writers had fully fleshed out the character is just incorrect.

  • Anonymous

    Then Golden Age Batman’s pants are on fire.

  • Harrison Grey

    I’m sorry, but there is nothing untruthful about a Batman who is fighting pirates.

  • http://pontoonification.blogspot.com/ AverageDrafter
  • Anonymous

    Especially since the emotional punch that Miller’s book carries is precisely because those two has a long history together with both respect and conflict. Skipping all that history just to get at the climatic ‘good stuff’ just negates the whole thing. It really frustrates me that WB seems so intent on cutting corners instead of building up a bigger story, letting it take time.

  • Ben English

    But if we’re talking about extremely extenuating circumstances (I can’t really fault Batman for attempted murder of the god of evil) then Superman has also killed in situations like that… including the movie this is a sequel to. So Green’s comment is odd. Unless maybe he meant (this version of) Superman and the pronouns are just confused.

  • Ben English

    Wait what? Batman shooting Darkseid had nothing to do with Frank Miller. Adrian was probably talking about AllStarBatmanandRobinTheBoyWonder where Bats shows a total disregard for the lives not just of crooks but police and often bystanders as well.

  • Ben English

    But Superman snapped one neck, and the act of doing so was clearly devastating even after all Zod had done and was at that moment doing. Man of Steel’s Superman is not a guy who’d be pals with a murderous Batman.

  • Ben English

    To be fair, Superman and Batman are at odds in that film over very specific things. Superman has essentially become a puppet of the Reagan administration and Batman has united multiple gangs in order to resist the corrupt government and virtually take over Gotham. They’re enemies like Captain America and Iron Man were enemies in Civil War.

  • locuas

    yes but 1) that story SUCKS and 2) that is not in continuity.
    The only death i belive is in continuity is Darkseid(if we count pre-52 as “happened even if it was erased”

  • Cad Wallader

    Changing Lanes, The Town, Phantoms…

  • athenia45

    Ben Affleck could be a fine Batman (like a younger George Clooney), but when they say they need an “older, veteran” Batman to offset Henry Cavill’s youth, Ben Affleck is not the dude I think of.

  • http://www.justplainsomething.com JustPlainSomething

    I’ve said this for a while … I’m more worried about the script. Pretty much everything frustrating about Man of Steel wasn’t by the actors per se, but in the dialogue and the plot. Lately when it comes to pretty much any casting (including the latest FF news), I’m much more worried about the script going off the rails than who they’ve gotten to play the characters.

  • http://www.justplainsomething.com JustPlainSomething

    Jill, we don’t talk about ASBAR. If we don’t talk about it, we can pretend it didn’t happen.

  • Anonymous

    “the most common bump between them is that Superman is like, ‘I won’t ever kill people,’ and Batman is like, ‘Well you do whatcha gotta do.’ … And it’s not just because he’s willing to kill.”

    In what universe is that Batman?

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Ha!

  • http://www.lawlessgentile.com/ Ali Miller

    Exactly. The no-kill rule is an essential part of BOTH Batman and Superman. (Batman’s reasoning about it in Under the Red Hood sticks with me: he tells Jason that he’s afraid if he killed even one person, he wouldn’t ever be able to stop himself again.)

    That said, BOTH characters have killed in exceptional circumstances throughout their lengthy comic-book history – but let’s be real, there are so many different conflicting continuities… if we held all of them as Gospel, these characters would be doomed to incoherence.

    None of those “exceptional” moments in their history change the fact that B&S are traditionally dedicated to protecting human life – even the worst of it. And their dedication often gets them in trouble (e.g. there is always a sense of dread every time Batman locks up another villain in Arkham, because he knows they will just break out again at some point; and Superman vs. The Elite focuses on Superman’s own conflict with the subject).

  • Anonymous

    I’ve kinda stopped caring about actor choices before seeing them in
    action, due to a few recent performances. Heck, anyone seen True
    Detective? Imagine the casting for that.

    “So the main character’s this gruff nihilist with a substance abuse problem.”
    “Ah, and he’s going to be played by—”
    “Matthew McConaughey.”
    Matthew McConaughey?! Mr. rom-com? The surfer guy?”
    “Yeah. We think he’ll really draw in the audience with his spooky gravitas.”
    “…ARE YOU HIGH.”

  • http://www.lawlessgentile.com/ Ali Miller

    I agree. And if Affleck had been picked based on his audition, I’d probably be more optimistic about this. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case… Affleck was approached by Snyder for the Batman role – not the other way around. According to a recent interview Affleck gave, Snyder had to CONVINCE him that he was appropriate for the part (a little alarming, right?).

    Another actor who was recently courted by a director for a bit of stunt casting was Russell Crowe in Les Miserables. He initially refused to play Javert, but Tom Hooper finally managed to convince him to do it. The results were… not good.

    The actor should be fighting for the role, not the other way around.

  • Raymondo

    Yeah, isn’t it BATMAN with the No-Kill policy?

  • Anonymous

    I never saw an instance of Heath Ledger playing a maniacal, amoral, whimsical psychopath, but you know…he knocked it out of the park.

  • http://disqus.com/ Daniel Ha

    Had to stop reading after that and check the comments. You can’t assert an opinion on Batman and get wrong one of the most defining parts about him! Shame on you Seth.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Saw two of those. Not impressed. Didn’t find him believable.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    True Detective did, in fact, change my mind about McConaughey.

  • Cad Wallader

    Fair enough. We’ll see how it plays out in 2016, assuming it isn’t pushed back again.

  • Anonymous

    In “The Killing Joke” Batman kills the Joker. (Though apparently this is up for debate? That’s how I read the cut off laughing. Also, it’s called “The Killing Joke” so, kind of a hint there…)

  • http://manicsquirrel.com Carla Lewis

    Batman wasn’t too friendly in Kingdom Come. I personally expect this type of Batman in the new movie: distrusting and curmudgeonly.

  • Anonymous

    I find him attractive in that. It’s highly unsettling.

  • Charlie

    Agreed. One of the most common questions I’ve heard people bring up about Batman is “Why doesn’t he just kill the Joker?” And his whole no-guns thing would be kind of pointless if he went around killing people in other ways.

  • Charlie

    It’s a popular theory, but Moore’s script for the comic just says that Batman and the Joker have collapsed against each other helpless with laughter when the police arrive.

  • Anonymous

    I’m of the opinion that once you produce a piece of art, you can’t control how other people interpret it. So I will say that my interpretation isn’t a “fact” but it’s not less valid than any other interpretation (not least of all because the comic artist chose to draw that scene in as ambiguous a way as possible, especially given the graphic novel’s title). So even if Moore didn’t intend for that ending, it doesn’t change my interpretation of it, because in my opinion that’s the reason that book was worth remembering.

  • Charlie

    That’s fine, it certainly makes the title more interesting. But I was mostly pointing it out because it was given as an example of Batman killing somebody, when it’s maybe a bit too ambiguous an example to support Seth Green’s argument.

  • MisfitsTamara

    That’s decidedly untrue. She cares about people and doesn’t take loss of life causally. The Max Lord Incident was a very well crafted situation in which it was literally the only option to stop him. She did what she had to do. And I think it’s kinda weird that pop culture is starting to define warriors as people who just kill without a care when really it should be the opposite. Every life a warrior takes is a burden they carry and they do it out of necessity, to protect others. Without that element, there’s no difference between warriors and mass murders.

  • Anonymous

    The difference between the two isn’t their stance on killing, as everyone else has pointed out. It’s that Superman sees the good in everyone, Batman sees the bad. Superman is hope, Batman is fear. Superman is law and order, and Batman is “whatever it takes (to a point)”. I see where he was going, but he definitely phrased it wrong.

    And as far as casting goes, I have more problem with Cavill than I do Affleck. I don’t think either one of them are right for their parts, but I look at Cavill in his suit, and I don’t see Superman, I see a really good cosplayer. I’ve not seen the movie yet, so maybe he managed to do a better job acting the part than looking it, but just from what I’ve seen, I don’t buy it. Affleck at least manages to look the part, from what little I’ve seen so far.