Ben Affleck Is The New Batman
Hard to top that news this week. It has been officially announced that ARGO star and director Ben Affleck will be the next actor to take on the Caped Crusader to play Batman in WB’s upcoming BATMAN/SUPERMAN movie. Subsequently, the internet broke. Backlash (batlash?) followed.
He’ll star opposite Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, and Diane Lane in the film. He’s the eighth man to take on Bruce Wayne and his crime fighting counterpart. He has tough shoes to fill, as Christian Bale’s Dark Knight is probably the most lauded of them all.
WB President Ben Silverman on the hire: “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some…”
Director Zack Snyder: ”Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”
It’s a fascinating story, at the very least. In 2003-2005, thanks to GIGLI and a bunch of bloated and stinky action movies, Ben Affleck’s film career looked over. Then, thanks to a critically acclaimed role in HOLLYWOODLAND and a stellar directing career borne out of 2007′s GONE BABY GONE, his star soared again, culminating in winning the Oscar for best picture for ARGO (directed by and starring Affleck). Then, he was rumored to direct a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie, and boom, now he’s Batman. When I heard the news, I was kind of shocked, dumbfounded, and felt like I was in the TWILIGHT ZONE.
He’s no stranger to superheroes, certainly growing up loving them with Kevin Smith and the gang in the View Askew universe, but also playing them (Matt Murdock in DAREDEVIL). The less said about that movie and his performance, the better. He’ll become the first actor to play both Superman and Batman (and DD), as he played the role of the actor George Reeves (who played Superman) in the aforementioned HOLLYWOODLAND.
According to some Twitter analytics (which is apparently a thing), over 71% of Tweets discussing the news were negative. Because of his inescapable Boston-ness and his bad-movie-addled past, he’s not getting the nicest of treatment (a petition to remove him from the role has even started, with over 7,000 signatures). I’ve always been a huge Ben Affleck fan, growing up with CLERKS, CHASING AMY, and DOGMA, and will likely end up being his defender here. I’m totally on the fence, and find it a bizarre choice, but I’m not passing any judgment. That said, I do think he’ll be a stellar Bruce Wayne, and I’m super curious to see whatever his Batman is. I definitely want him to be sporting the ARGO beard.
As Variety notes, Ben Affleck isn’t the first actor to get such a negative reaction when hired to the role. When Michael Keaton was hired in 1989 for Tim Burton’s BATMAN, he was simply known as a comic actor. I’d rank him right up there with Bale as the best of the modern day Batmen, although George Clooney and Val Kilmer hardly gave much competition.
Affleck has learned a lot since he first burst onto the Hollywood stage with GOOD WILL HUNTING, and I’m rooting for him, because if he hits this one out of the park, it’ll add to his remarkable story. Affleck is obviously taking the role seriously, having already started working out 2 hours a day (US Weekly).
The David S. Goyer scripted movie also now has a firm release date: July 17th, 2015. Get ready for an infinite number of Bat-fleck chatter between now and then.