The casting of Ben Affleck as Batman caught EVERYONE off guard. The way I found out about it was not on twitter, but when the Variety newsletter came into my inbox with the news. I thought it was one of … Continue reading

Guest Post: Ben Affleck Will Be The Bomb As Batman, Yo!

batfleck-870The casting of Ben Affleck as Batman caught EVERYONE off guard. The way I found out about it was not on twitter, but when the Variety newsletter came into my inbox with the news. I thought it was one of their Hollywood & Swine humor pieces. I couldn’t believe it. Then the Deadline newsletter came in next and I knew it was no joke. Then my phone started blowing up and it set in… Warners got their man. Personally, I think it is an AWESOME choice. I dig Affleck as an actor and especially as a filmmaker. I’m excited to see what he brings to the table.

The conversation with my friends and peers have been nonstop since the news broke. I had one cool conversation with my Kings Of Con partner Daniel Alter and told him he should articulate his thoughts into an article. Lo and behold here it is below so enjoy.

First thing’s first: BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT are my two favorite comic book film adaptations of all time.  In fact, they are two of my all time favorite movies.  In a perfect world, I would have preferred Warner Bros. announced Christian Bale is reprising his role as Batman last Thursday.  Not because I think Ben Affleck will never be as good as Bale.  But, because I love everything Bale’s casting would’ve entailed.

Currently, Christian Bale is The Batman for me.  Michael Caine’s Alfred is pitch perfect.  Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox is better than I could’ve ever imagined.  Gary Oldman’s Gordon is inspired.  And Hans Zimmer’s score is what I hum in my head at the very thought of the caped crusader these days.

That last fact is perhaps the most important since it’s the one thing I never thought possible in 2005.  I was seven years old when Tim Burton’s BATMAN came out in ’89.  It was the first film I saw three times in the theater.  I didn’t know many fans had initially been outraged over the casting of Keaton.  I didn’t know who Ra’s al Ghul was, or that the Joker’s origin was something that probably shouldn’t have been shown.  I had no idea who Frank Miller was and what he had done with characters like Gordon or themes like escalation.  All I knew was Adam West, and wondered if Robin would be in the sequel.

By the time Burton and Keaton had moved on and Schumacher had taken over, I did know who Miller was and was watching Paul Dini’s amazing animated series.  BATMAN FOREVER disappointed me on opening night.  I rightfully never had any real anticipation for BATMAN & ROBIN and was beyond angry opening night after seeing that film.

Tim Burton’s two installments are like two great else-world graphic novels to me.  I defend them to this day.  But after the 12:01 am show of BATMAN BEGINS in ’05, the ‘89 film’s special place in my childhood top 10 had been overridden by a profound love for what Chris Nolan had achieved.  And while Danny Elfman’s brilliant score is equally as stirring as Zimmer’s, it’s the latter that now comes to mind when I think of Batman.  That is the power of film.  That is the power of Chris Nolan’s BATMAN films.

Christopher Nolan has decided to give a definitive ending to his BATMAN movie universe.  I think he could’ve made one more film in between the second and third.  But that’s his choice.  And it’s Christian Bale’s choice not to come back and play BATMAN for another director.  But we all knew Batman, like James Bond and Spider-man (and eventually Iron Man and Wolverine), would live on with another actor someday soon.  The question was who, and when?

If you’re Warner Bros, you’ve got to be pretty happy with MAN OF STEEL’s ability to reboot SUPERMAN.  Much like BATMAN BEGINS once did, this new Superman yarn has made The Man of Steel cool again.  But unlike what the THE DARK KNIGHT did in Gotham with The Joker, there’s just not much room to up the stakes in Metropolis for a sequel; the city was destroyed!  Adding Lex Luthor is not enough to compete with the epic scale of action Zack Snyder unleashed on us this summer.  Audiences now expect something huge.  Even the most amazing casting decision for the Lexcorp CEO probably won’t do it.  And while Marvel is off to the races with THE AVENGERS and their shared filmic universe, Warners has stumbled with THE GREEN LANTERN effort and has to deal with the ending of the Nolan/Bale BATMAN series.

The studio, Snyder, and writer David Goyer need “an ace in the hole” as The Joker said in THE DARK KNIGHT.  And it’s Batman.  I don’t know what happened with Will Beall’s Justice League script, or whose idea it was to scrap an all out DC Universe team-up film and concentrate on bringing Batman and Superman together first.  I do know whoever’s idea that was (Warners’, Snyder, Goyer, etc…) is on the right track.  Batman and Superman have a special relationship that needs to be developed independently before you start bringing other meta-humans into the mix; especially if you don’t have Bale and all the goodwill he brings with him.  And like I said, there weren’t many places for a MAN OF STEEL sequel to go anyway.  So now we’re all geeking out about the fact that we’re finally getting the two greatest super-heroes of all time together in a big-budget live-action major studio film.

There’s just one problem.  Whoever got cast as Batman was going to be compared to Bale.  It’s inevitable.  Now I know some fans would’ve preferred Josh Brolin or Ryan Gosling.  Just like some fans would’ve preferred Clive Owen got the Bond role and not Daniel Craig a few years back.  In fact, many fans were outraged at the casting of Craig.  Now he’s the best Bond ever; or at, least since Connery.  Go figure.

Personally, I didn’t want Gosling.  He’s a great actor but would’ve felt like an emulation of Bale.  Brolin may have literally been Batman from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS graphic novel.  But I also fear he would’ve been the Bruce Wayne from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS; which is a very specific interpretation of that character that I don’t want to see in an eventual JLA movie or future solo bat-pics.

As for casting an unknown, as they did with Cavil for Superman… I think to not be undermined by the shadow cast over Bale having only recently hung up the Cowl, you needed someone who brought automatic gravitas. Clooney’s already done it.  So you got Leo, Pitt, and…NEWSFLASH Fanboys: the star of THE TOWN and ARGO is now on that list.  Now I know to some of you guys he’ll always be “the bomb in PHANTOMS, yo”…but… grow up!  To general audiences, he’s the beloved star (and director) of this years 100 million dollar grossing best picture winner.  That’s right boys and girls; between THE TOWN and ARGO, #batfleck has directed himself back to the top of Hollywood’s A-list.

Warners wants to keep him in the fold and they have a role they can offer that can be what IRON MAN is to Robert Downey, Jr..  I think he’s going to be a warmer and more relatable Bruce Wayne than we’ve had before, something that has been done well in the comics many times as well as Dini’s animated series.  As for Batman, there are few (remember I said that) directors who can bring that character to life better than Zack Snyder.  And if you hold DAREDEVIL being a bad film against Ben Affleck, it’s as silly as saying Christian Bale never should’ve been cast as Batman after being in REIGN OF FIRE.  Chris Evans’ role in the FANTASTIC FOUR movies has had no bearing on his ability to be a great Captain America.

Batman is arguably the most valuable superhero intellectual property in the world.  Up until THE AVENGERS with it’s higher priced 3d tickets, not to mention inflation, expanding foreign markets, etc…THE DARK KNIGHT was the highest grossing super-hero film of all time.  If I’m Warners, I want to hedge my bets.  Same way Disney should when Downey decides to cast off his armor.  In their case, they may have got two for one.  Because speaking of that short list of directors… When it comes time for some standalone Batman films, I can’t think of anyone better than Ben Affleck to be calling action.

Daniel Alter is a film producer based in Los Angeles whose credits include HITMAN, THE APPARITION, and is attached to produce JONNY QUEST in development at Warners. Follow Daniel on twitter.

  • yomamabinfartin’

    I think that Henry Cavil should have gotten a proper sequel under him and not have had Batman “shoe horned” in. I just think casting Ben Affleck is a wrong choice! In my opinion the actor shouldn’t over shadow the character. He was great in The Town and Argo but every time you look at him you think to yourself “Hey! That’s Ben Affleck.” They should’ve just went with an unknown or a lesser profile actor ala Karl Urban or Jim Caviezel Under Snyder’s direction and Goyer’s script I have a bad feeling that Man of Steel 2 is going to be an absolute disaster.

  • seven2k

    has a superman fan….Cavil did an amazing job. He is superman. He proved it. Affleck will be stepping into this role new. Yes Affleck is big but Cavil is becoming big. It will be up the script to make SUperman shine…cause again this is MoS 2.

  • JoHighness

    I was agreeing with most of what was said in the article, but then I read what this guys producer credits were. So even though I’m all for Affleck being the new Batman, this guys opinion lost all credibility when I read the list of films he had produced.

  • noahwayne0

    absolutely agree, Henry was awesome and they should have had a sequel with just him – with Brainiac as the villain. This just feels like shoving in Batman too quickly. And I also agree on picking a lesser profile actor to blend in better. Jason Isaacs, RIchard Armitage, or Karl Urban would have been excellent

  • Crapster

    I agree, people seem to forget that this is a Superman movie and Snyder’s not gonna let Batman take away the spotlight.

  • Carlos R.

    You’re suggesting that REIGN OF FIRE, featuring an enjoyable Bale and one of Matthew “You Bring That Bitch To ME!” McConaughey’s most bats**t-awesome roles to date, was not good?

    The rest of your argument is invalid. Good day sir! I. SAID. GOOD. DAY! :D

  • Dakkar

    The most exciting thing about Daniel Alter’s comments is the coda and finding out someone is developing Jonny Quest. I’ve had fantasies about doing that for years. I just hope it’s live action and they keep the character as a pre-teen.

  • Bilal Khan

    Developing Jonny Quest!!! Fuck everything else!!!!!! WOOOOOOHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  • MrJayK

    Why is one of the “few directors” that you mention as being able to “flesh out” a more relatable Bruce Wayne, Zack Snyder?? What has he ever done, character-wise, to make you think that’s possible? As a matter of fact, I feel that Snyder’s direction ultimatley holds back any potential for his films to be great, mainly becasue of poor character development and a way over-the-top visual style. Although I think he did a good job of reigning himself in to make “Man of Steel” a very good film, I generally don’t get his directorial style at all.

  • Pizza the Hut

    As long as ZS is in charge the film will suck. Dump him now and left Batfleck direct

  • GeneJacket

    Completely, whole-heartedly, 100% agree.

  • jamthemaj

    I love your avatar and name! Now I wanna watch Spaceballs. :)

    That said, I disagree with you. Yes, Affleck is a better director, but I loved Snyder’s direction in Man of Steel, and I loved the movie itself. He’s a huge Batman fan, so I can’t wait to see what he does.

  • jamthemaj

    I can answer your question! Because Snyder is a huge comic fan, and Batman is his favorite character. He’ll do a great job. His style annoys me sometimes (300 or Sucker Punch) as well, but I loved Man of Steel and the way in which he directed it. The characters were well-written and directed. I’m excited to see what he does.

  • MrJayK

    I know he’s a huge comic fan, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to doing a great job. I mean, I hope it’s great, but I feel like good is probably more of a realistic option. Basically, Snyder’s never done anything to make me think he has a great film in him, and I was shocked when he was offered the “Man of Steel” job by Nolan and Warner Bros.

  • J.A.C.

    One thing that Affleck can give us is that attitude that he will not take shit and will kick you ass.

  • jamthemaj

    I felt the same way when Snyder was hired. As far as I’m concerned though, he knocked it out of the park with Man of Steel, and it turns out Nolan knew what he was doing when he chose him to direct. Before Man of Steel, I would have said the same thing as you. I thought it was excellent. The look/direction of the movie was beautiful, at least I thought so.

  • Dan Hong

    I agree, affect shoulda been iron man instead. He can pull off “douche” fine, but brooding sophisticated playboy aristocrat? No.

  • Batmancw

    I think that their WILL be a “proper sequel” and here’s why–they made a point to establish that Bruce Wayne & others exist in M of S via various “Easter Eggs”. So–if Wayne exists & the Batman in that world is an older experienced Batman, then for him NOT to show up would be IMPROPER. Aside from being the JL strategist, Batman has ALWAYS been the one who has plans to take down the League should they ever go rogue or be mind controlled & after what happened in both Metropolis and Smallville you can bet that his “sights” would be set on finding out everything possible about Superman & whether to not he is REALLY here to help. Then, add in a villain that requires Batman’s “strategery” and Superman’s powers to defeat(Braniac? or maybe Braniac AND Luthor?) & i think you have the makings of a great movie that sets the stage for more DC heroes to appear & work towards a proper JL movie where the entire team will be needed to face Darkseid & his army or another world level threat

  • Batmancw

    agreed–I dont know what movie the folks who hated M of S &/or Cavill saw, but I saw an awesome Superman for today & the future & it was IMO about dam time that we see the type of collateral damage that actually WOULD occur in such a scenario.

  • seven2k

    this might sound a bit fanboyish but who says Superman did not help with the rebuild. He does have super strength and speed. lol

  • ‘sal good

    I am cautiously optimistic. Affleck was quite good as Daredevil and DD is a Batman-ish type of character. I was quite surprised by the casting announcement, as most people were, but think that Ben just may do the role justice.

  • Jeff

    Some excellent points.

    I don’t hate the pick. I just am disappointed that Brolin wasn’t interested. It’s probably for the best.

    here’s a fan’s defense of batfleck.

    http://www.ccdblog.com/2013/08/ben-affleck-aint-so-bad-for-batman-rant.html

  • HarryKnowlesFan

    Since when was Batman a playboy? In the last movie he just used slutty women socially to seek attention and make people think Bruce Wayne is a joke.

  • myclawismypenis

    If they would have had DOOMSDAY in the MOS sequel..nuff said

  • Dan Hong

    Can’t tell if serious or…

  • myclawismypenis

    Snyder did well with MOS, his only movie that was pure ass was SP. The only thing is what would MOS have been if they would have went with Aronofsky, who was a close runner up in regards to being the director of MOS.

  • Wilbur J Huffnagel

    Though I was disappointed in ‘DD’ I am optimistic that Ben Affleck will do a good job on Batman in the upcoming movie. I must say that ‘The Town’ is one of my favorite recent movies, one that I can watch multiple times….and Affleck did a fine job with that. I am willing to give it a chance, and I think (hope, really) that the upcoming movie blows the doors of moviegoers’ collective expectations MoS did, and TDKR certainly redefined awesome. Can the studio have three in a row? Time will tell.

  • OnECenTX

    Am I the only one that thinks that Keanu Reeves should be Batman??? I know-I know… “Keanu Reeves!?” First off, he is one of the most underrated actors working. Second, he knows Kung Fu!!! So him in the Bat-suit, he has that locked down! Third, it always came down to not who can play “Batman” because once the mask goes on, does it really matter who’s Batman???…. It’s more of who can play Bruce Wayne and Bruce Wayne is that really big dick/douchebag, but still likable and Keanu has proven he can pull that off. I don’t know, I’m probably the only one that thinks this.

  • Wilbur J Huffnagel

    Here’s a plot point I hope the studio is moving towards – Luthor enlists Batman to take down Superman. Superman, in the midst of a large battle convinces Batman that Luthor is the threat and you have a climax comparable to MoS.

  • RonMoses

    Batman was the bomb in Mask of the Phantasm, yo.

  • HarryKnowlesFan

    Batman isn’t a playboy. I own a few Batman comics and he has never been a playboy. Batman broods and has a girlfriend every now and then. Batman is’s a tosser who sleeps around.

  • Dan Hong

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman

    top of second paragraph.

    “Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist.”

    if you google “billionaire playboy” then one of the suggestions is “billionaire playboy bruce wayne”… i’m not sure what standing you have here. it’s CANON that he’s referred to as billionaire playboy bruce wayne. are you going to argue also that dick grayson was his “son” and not his “ward”?

  • Dan Hong

    Whether or not he DOES sleep around is beside the point–the point is how he portrays himself. And Affleck doesn’t have it

  • HarryKnowlesFan

    That is wikipedia. Common people just project the playboy thing onto him. Dude is a bachelor and is always written as one. People just misuse the playboy word in passing. Iron Man is/was a playboy but Batman just never has been portrayed as one other than as a cover to make it seem ridiculous that the rich playboy is Batman.

  • yomamabinfartin’

    It amazes me that the amount of destruction in MOS is a such a major focal point or problem with the fanboys. As a Superman fan all I dreamed of was the day we would finally witness such destruction in a Superman movie. Now that it happens everyone is up in arms about it! Go back and watch those Justice League and Justice Animated cartoons and witness the mass destruction that happens to metropolis as a result of a Superman induced fight. Where’s the uproar with that?? One episode comes to mind where Superman and Captain Marvel go toe to toe with each other. They level skyscrapers and it was freaking AWSOME!!! SO, lets all calm down! It’s a fantasy movie! Everyone’s OK.

  • Yomamabinfartin’

    Bruce isn’t a moron! He knows Lex is shady! That’ll never happen.

  • yomamabinfartin’

    It’s not Snyder’s fault! It’s Goyer’s! The man is a hack! Left alone the man can not write a movie. Case in point the Blade movies. Even the JSA comics suffered until Johns came abroad and made them readable. MOS suffered in writing not direction.

  • JimH69
  • MrJayK

    I definitely think MOS was Snyder’s best film. I’m just not ready to trust him as a cultivator of character development. I see where you’re coming from though.

  • MrJayK

    Although I will say that Goyer lacks in scripting, I do think his stories, pre-script are generally good (ie: The Dark Knight Trilogy). As a matter of fact, his script for Batman Begins was borderline great. Those movies obviously got better, script-wise though, when the Nolans took over the duty. But Nolan’s a great director. Snyder is not. Great directors should be able to pull out good to great performances from suspect scripting. Leaving Goyer and Snyder to create on their own could turn out fairly mediocre, since neither is great at what they do. Again, I thougt MOS was very good, and Snyder’s best movie to date, but I just don’t fully get the appeal of him as a director, and feel that his movies previous to MOS were mediocre at best.

  • bigriver0

    The only thing Affleck “brings to the table” is yet another American frat-boy actor, incapable of playing a role that should be played by an actual “man.”

    On the plus side, at least it isn’t fellow frat-boy Ryan Reynolds – or even worse – Bradley Cooper. When will Hollywood start hiring (American) non metro-sexuals for these parts?

    Josh Brolin >>>>>>>>>> Ben Affleckreynoldscooper.

  • Wilbur J Huffnagel

    That is certainly possible, and it would make an excellent plot point, but conflict can make for strange alliances; if Hitler and Stalin could carve up Poland, then Wayne and Luthor can put aside their differences to focus on what they jointly perceive as a greater threat (that being Superman).

  • Batmancw

    yknow–that HAD occurred to me as a possibility even though Bruce would expect Luthor to be up to no good. Since its been un officially announced that Cranston is gonna’ play Luthor, i think the casting is shaping up nicely

  • Batmancw

    yep–i have said that all along–he was in a fight for the fate of the planet against genetically bred warriors AND it was his FIRST FIGHT EVER so he was a bit busy to be worried about the collateral damage DURING the fight. Neither he nor the military held back DURING the battle, but for all we know Supes spent weeks searching for folks & cleaning up–they just didnt show it

  • Batmancw

    AGREE 100%

  • Muhammad Malik

    I believe he should of had a proper sequel as well but the fact is it didnt do as great as it was projected to do. So adding the word batman to the title will make fans of both superheros to go watch the movie

  • Muhammad Malik

    Story wise, i think superman might help but overall I think the rebuilding finance will be provided by Lex Luthor

  • jamthemaj

    I see where you’re coming from as well. :) I just think he did a great job cultivating character development in MOS. I was emotionally invested. I know others disagree though! Haha

  • Slick

    No, he won’t

  • yomaamabinfartin’

    I don’t give Goyer that much credit with the Batman Trigiloy! Yes Goyer wrote the story for Batman Begins and had help with Noaln writing the screenplay. For TDK and TDKR the Nolan bros. wrote the screenplay for both with the story by Goyer. So I credit Nolan more with the success of Batman than I do Goyer (My Opinion)

  • http://knuts-film-blog.blogspot.co.uk/ Paxton

    Whereas if he hadn’t been a producer at all, but a journo, or even a jobbing actor, you’d have respected his opinion more??

    No-one ever sets out to make a cruddy movie, and to blame a cruddy movie on an individual is not to understand the filmmaking process (especially the studio system). Actually getting a film made is more than most film fans or writers will, or could ever achieve.

    Cut the guy a break, or at least acknowledge that he knows the industry better than you or I ever will. Frankly, his opinion is worth a million times more than anyone on these messageboards, because it is a million times more informed.

  • MrJayK

    Then we’re on the same page, because that’s exactly what I said.

  • http://knuts-film-blog.blogspot.co.uk/ Paxton

    Actors make their living by putting on fancy dress, being made up, and playing make believe.

    Pray tell, what actor would you qualify as “an actual ‘man’”?

    THEY’RE ACTORS!! They act! If they’re any good, you’ll believe them!

    For unlikely castings which came out bloody well, see Keaton as Batman, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Owen Davian, hell, even Ledger as the Joker. The studios are pretty canny – they knew the massive baggage the Ben Affleck the actor (as opposed to Ben Affleck the director) would bring to this movie, so they must have seen something. I’m betting they screentested him and he smashed it.

    (All that said, I think Affleck’s a bad choice, but not because of his acting chops, rather because I think he’s going to get fucking frustrated with Snyder “directing” him, and the tension is going to manifest itself as an undirected, guesswork performance).

  • Yoyo

    Christian Bale was bad in Reign of Fire? I must have seen that other Reign of Fire.

  • Wilbur J Huffnagel

    With the news of Cranston as Luthor, I might just start watching the early seasons of Breaking Bad…he was funny on Malcolm in the Middle but I did not think his talent was exploited fully. Now that he’s had BB and likely cast as LL, his chance to shine is coming

  • JoHighness

    “Whereas if he hadn’t been a producer at all, but a journo, or even a jobbing actor, you’d have respected his opinion more??”

    Maybe yes, because have you actually seen Hitman or The Apparition?

    While I do agree that he most likely has more knowledge in the industry than me or anyone else in this discussion, he must have had at least some input on those films he was a part of and those films were abysmal to say the least.

    That being said I still have respect for the guy as it certainly is not easy being in the industry and actually getting films made. So I apologize for the harsh comment I made earlier and I only hope he learned something from those films for the sake of the films he’ll be involved with in the future.

  • c_r_gauthier

    For the Batman trilogy, the casting was pretty awesome, I mean Gary Oldman’s Gordon looks like it came out from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight!

    Here’s the thing.

    Bale was better than the rest.

    But we still never got a really good and solid Bruce Wayne/Batman.

    So, who knows…

  • c_r_gauthier

    Keanu as Bruce Wayne.. Interesting.. Not sure he could pull it off in a convincing way. I would rather see Victor Webster

  • c_r_gauthier

    If one guy could have been chosen to play Bruce Wayne, what about Victor Webster?