While Ben Affleck’s casting as Bruce Wayne/Batman was not generally met well by fans initially, his first performance in the character’s shoes (and boots) in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice blew audiences away, leading many to name him as the definitive Batman. While the film itself drew mixed reaction, the 44-year-old stole the show portraying a more gritty, world-weary version of the character, akin to Frank Miller’s 1988 Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, which was taken to very well. The big problem for Affleck, however, is not his performance, but the performance of the current canon of DC movies in terms of their overall public reception.
At 2016’s San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that Affleck would be directing Warner Bros.’s next solo Batman film, while also joining forces with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer, and appointed DC movie chief, Geoff Johns to write the script – much to the excitement of fans. Of course, writing, directing and starring in your own movie is a huge task, but one that we have no trouble believing the Academy Award winner could pull off. But, just because he is capable of doing it doesn’t mean he actually will.
In a recent interview with USA Today, Affleck spoke about his new film Live By Night, but also made some interesting comments when asked about his Batman project. Speaking specifically about the pressures and challenges of doing a solo film for the caped crusader, the director/actor cited the comfort of the Batsuit as being the top priority:
“Chief among the challenges of doing Batman, will be finding a suit that’s more comfortable”
No doubt – the tireless amount of putting the suit on and taking it off may not seem like much to some, but as the leading man says quite rightly you are “sweating” and “exhausted”, specially when you’ve been filming for multiple hours on a given day.
Speaking of the suit, it seems we will get a slightly altered version for Zack Snyder’s next 2017 DC movie Justice League, along with the new ‘Tactical Suit’ (which can be seen in the image below). Justice League marks another big outing for Batman, who, along with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), will be leading a team of heroes to face a large scale threat in the form of the villain Steppenwolf. As the studio’s biggest film yet, equivalent to Marvel’s Avengers titles, there’s no question that Affleck will have contributed much, and will understandably be in need of some good old r&r before moving further with more Batman material.
Big questions were raised following a recent comment, where the filmmaker stated that his presence in the directing chair is not in fact a done deal – Contradictory to his earlier comments that the script was coming along very well – leading to speculation that there had been issues between himself and co-writer Geoff Johns, or that the studio was interfering. Providing more clarity on the situation, Affleck says that:
“Superhero movies get the level of attention that is nothing like any film I’ve done. You cast the 14th lead in these movies and the Internet goes crazy, I understand and embrace that. That’s part of the pressure that comes with doing it. That’s why I am not going to do it, unless I really feel confident about it”
These remarks steer us back in the direction of the star being a little fatigued after the amount of work he’s been putting in recently, but also that he’s concerned about making the right movie. He doesn’t want another Batman v Superman situation – as much as we don’t think that would happen with him at the helm anyway – plus the sheer workload will be heavier than he’s ever experienced.
So, is he going to do it? At this point it still looks like a will he/won’t he situation. We can’t really be sure, although his attitude towards the prospect of seeing it through is still there. Perhaps the most concerning thing to think about is what does he mean when he says “I am not going to do it“? We’re assuming it means he just won’t direct the picture, but could it also extend to the writing, and possibly even the acting? It would be highly unlikely he won’t be Batman, I think we can say that with certainty, but with regards to the script and the direction, it’s anyone’s guess at this point.
Batman/The Batman is yet to receive an official release date.