Ben Affleck – who, as some of you may know, will be taking on the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – is currently making headlines for starring in David Fincher’s Gone Girl.
The casting of Affleck as Batman famously led to predictably explosive reactions from fans, but as time passed and images of the actor in costume – as well as the superhero’s new ride – have surfaced, the overall consensus seems to now favor Affleck in the role. As Joss Whedon pointed out, “He’s got the chin,” he’s exhibited a deep respect for the mythology he now inhabits, and on the Bruce Wayne side, he’s excelled at playing men in a position of power in films such as State of Play and Changing Lanes.
Oh, and he’s played a superhero before, in the still-derided 2003 version of Daredevil. Affleck recently spoke with NPR about his current thriller Gone Girl and addressed the issue of Daredevil in relation to his role in Batman v Superman.
When it came to the likability of his Gone Girl character Nick Dunne – who may or may not have murdered his missing wife – Affleck had this to say:
The whole idea of likability was sort of thrown out of the window. And I thought that was really exciting and liberating as an actor because you didn’t know where this guy was gonna go.
While the subject of this quote was specifically Nick Dunne, some of it could be said to apply to Bruce Wayne. There have been countless different versions of the billionaire playboy-turned-vigilante in the comic books, in movies and on television (where he’s currently being played as a pre-adolescent by David Mazouz on Fox’s Gotham), and many have presented him as an emotionally-scarred anti-hero coldly removed from even those closest to him.
Then there’s Daredevil. While writer-director Mark Steven Johnson (who went on to butcher adapt Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage) actually came up with a suitably cinematic approach to the Man Without Fear’s powers and Affleck seemed committed to the role, the film’s plot, pacing and dialogue were all problematic to say the least.
When asked if he has any regrets regarding his first outing as a live-action comic book character, Affleck said:
Indeed I have regrets about ‘Daredevil.’ I have regrets about all the movies that I don’t think were executed properly. … Look, if I thought we were remaking ‘Daredevil,’ I’d be out there picketing myself … and that goes for other movies as well that I haven’t been happy with. You know, I’m hard on myself and I have exacting standards and I want to do excellent work and I don’t always succeed, but I think you have to start out with that drive.
Some of this may be Affleck the director talking, some of it Affleck the actor. He had only high praise for his Gone Girl director David Fincher, calling him “a master.” As for the storytelling talent behind Batman v Superman, Affleck talked up the film’s screenwriter and director, saying:
[‘Batman v Superman’] was written by Chris Terrio, who wrote Argo, who’s not a comic guy. And it’s directed by Zack Snyder, who’s a incredibly magical sort of visual stylist who’s steeped in the comic world. And you have this sandwich of talents. I felt very confident about it. … I thought it would be nice to make one of these movies really, really good.
While it should be noted that director Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy of films were also really, really good, director Snyder has a flair for the more fantastical aspects of Batman’s comic book universe that Nolan never seemed eager to embrace. Man of Steel merged the grounded, Nolan-esque approach to a super powered alien from a dead planet with the splashy, cosmic-flavored source material in a way that makes a Snyder-directed pairing of the World’s Finest a very exciting prospect, indeed.
As for Affleck’s counterpart in this first-ever big-screen team-up, some new set photos of Henry Cavill as Superman’s alter ego Clark Kent, courtesy of Henry Cavill News:
By now we’ve seen far more glimpses of Cavill as Kent than as Superman. While the vast majority of his work as the Man of Steel is performed on green screen sound stages and augmented digitally in post-production, but there’s a very good chance that not only will Supes and Bats have to go eyeball to eyeball in BvS, but billionaire Bruce Wayne and intrepid reporter Clark Kent will also face off in public, likely knowing perfectly well who the other really is.
While Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio may be taking a grounded approach to his Batman v Superman script, his Best Picture-winning drama took a harrowing real-life event and infused it with tension and suspense… and at the end of Argo, it turned out to be the universal excitement generated by a pulpy sci-fi flick which saved the day (historical accuracy notwithstanding).
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in theaters on May 16th, 2016.