When did this Ben Affleck Batman tragedy begin? Alex Zalben has a pretty good timeline of Affleck’s interaction with superhero roles here but it leaves out a few things, such as Affleck’s breakout role as “Holden” the aspiring comics artist in Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy.
Okay that was prehistory, and Zalben does reference Affleck’s now long forgotten dalliance with Gwyneth Paltrow (while forgetting Benlo!) but the bottom line is…this was destiny, people.
It was especially destiny since, as far as I can tell, Warner Bros was obsessed with making sure one of their most respected (now Oscar winning) up and coming directors got involved with their blossoming DC Filmed Universe. From Zalben’s timeline, there’s his smoking gun tweet from all the way back in February:
FUN & FABULOUS FANBOY FACT OF THE DAY: DID YA KNOW WHEN AFFLECK WAS APPROACHED TO DIRECT JUSTICE LEAGUE THEY ALSO WANTED HIM TO PLAY BATMAN?
— elmayimbe (@elmayimbe) February 8, 2013
Off his Argo success, Affleck was asked if he wanted to direct the Justice League movie, but he wisely said no. But here’s another MTV piece from 2012 which more directly addresses Affleck’s love and hate relationship with superheroes. In it he revealed that he was miserable making Daredevil, and that experience had stopped him from getting involved with another superhero project. “I had a negative experience with the one comic book I liked, it was just a movie that didn’t work.” he told MTV. “It’s such a shame because first of all ‘Daredevil’ [is] a great book, great idea and then right after that they figured out that it was better to make the movies good and then they started making them cool and investing in them.”
Nonetheless, he wished the planned Daredevil reboot well and most importantly, said he would be open to working on a new comic book movie “if it was the right one and if I thought I could do it well.”
Of course you never want to rule anything out. While Affleck’s instinct not to take on the raging mass of neurotic anxiety that will undoubtedly be WB’s attempt at a JLA movie was the move of a very sane man, maybe his donning the cape and cowl is a lead-in to a different directing gig in DC’s movie verse? It would seem plausible for WB to hope that, although that is only speculation.
In the meantime, what of an Affleck Batman? He has the jaw and physique for the role, but during the Argo press tour, I noticed he was getting a little all-too-human puffiness from all those catered affairs and maybe a few Sam Adams along the way. (He was deliberately out of shape for his role as George Reeve, above.) Maybe that’s why Affleck has avoided superhero roles — to be a movie superstar these days you need to direct almost as much energy to staying 2% body fat as you do to acting. Of course a little training will get the mostly fit 41-year-old into wifebeater scene ready, eight pack ab shape.
The training is no problem, the acting…well, you know people, Christian Bale aside, guess what…acting in superhero movies isn’t particularly a taxing acting job. Affleck is maybe a little too likable for a Batman but given all the hate he’s getting today, that may be changing fast.
Finally, it is extremely rare that fans, nerdlebrities and just plain actors are all entranced by the same event in such as way, as the following tweet shows. It’s true; Batfleck has united the nation in a way that few events in history have.
You read for a part, you feel good about it, you feel confident, then they cast Ben Affleck.
— Richard Dreyfuss (@RichardDreyfuss) August 23, 2013
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.