Ben Affleck Had Some Initial Hesitation About Being Batman
Who He Is and How He Came to Be
It’s not often you can find an image of the Dark Knight looking hesitant, but seeing as how he is a matter of some expertise for me, here you go.
When speaking about the role in an interview, Affleck admitted that the usual reticence actors express about taking superhero roles did not escape him when he was approached to play Batman. And it wasn’t because the entire internet was going to explode.
Initially I was reluctant as I felt I didn’t fit the traditional mold but once Zack showed me the concept, and that it would be both different from the great movies that Chris and Christian made but still in keeping with tradition I was excited. Doing something different and new is always tricky and part of the thrill and the risk is that initially it confounds expectations. The truth is, it’s the movie and the execution of it is what all the actors depend on and I believe in Zack’s vision.
Hints here and there have Batman vs. Superman, which, yes, is apparently still called Batman vs. Superman featuring an older, established Batman who’s been doing his job for quite a bit going up against the young, barely tested Superman of Man of Steel. Or working together? Because really, how much of the movie can be taken up by the Slap Fight Based on Uncharacteristic Poor Communication and Contrived Misunderstandings that begins every superhero teamup?
In the hands of a creative studio that didn’t have such a track record of mishandling its comic book properties as Warner Bros., I’d be pretty interested in a DC Universe that began with Batman but didn’t flourish until Superman. I recall when news about the New 52 leaked out and I attempted to reconcile the idea of five Robins with the idea that the whole setting was only five years old (turns out this was accomplished by reinventing the Robins not as foster sons but as, basically, “interns”). What if, I thought, Batman was working for a decade before any other superheroes, but nobody saw him as one because without superpowers he was just “Gotham’s crazy vigilante?” What if Superman had to push hard to get him in on the Justice League because though he was the most experienced superhero on the team, he had a reputation for being the one normal guy crazy enough to act like a superhero, and he even brought kids into the life? What if Batman was first, but it took Superman to inspire the world? That seemed not only really interesting, but a statement that jived well with the effect the two characters are understood to have had on the DC Universe.
Of course, that’s a view of Batman that acknowledges some aspects of the character that are usually glossed over slightly. As dark as writers like to take the Dark Knight, acknowledging the psychological damage he’s likely doing to his children is still one that’s usually only joked about, like Nightwing quipping that he’s not hunting criminals through the docks, he’s “following a pattern of obsessive behavior instilled in me at an early age.” Those strange nuances are the ones that I love most about the character: what’s really supernatural about him and his extended family is their sanity, will, and restraint. But I’m off on a tangent now.
There’s a lot of potential in the details of Batman vs. Superman, because those characters have a lot of potential. The question for me is whether the team that put together Man of Steel can produce something that will allow me to say, a week later, that it was more that “decent.”