So, in news that will more than likely be causing chat rooms and comic book news sites to have tech support on stand-by for the whole weekend, Warner Brothers has just announced that Ben Affleck has been cast to play Batman and Bruce Wayne in the forthcoming Batman/Superman project. Here is the press release:
BURBANK, CA, August 22, 2013 – Ending weeks of speculation, Ben Affleck has been set to star as Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne. Affleck and filmmaker Zack Snyder will create an entirely new incarnation of the character in Snyder’s as-yet-untitled project—bringing Batman and Superman together for the first time on the big screen and continuing the director’s vision of their universe, which he established in “Man of Steel.” The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.
The studio has slated the film to open worldwide on July 17, 2015.
Last month’s surprise announcement of the new movie featuring both Superman and Batman created a wave of excitement and immediately fueled discussion and debate—among fans as well as in the media—about who would put on the cape and cowl of Bruce Wayne’s alter ego.
Snyder successfully re-imagined the origin of Clark Kent/Superman in the worldwide blockbuster “Man of Steel,” which has earned more than $650 million worldwide to date, and climbing. The director will now create an original vision of Batman and his world for the film that brings the two DC Comics icons together.
Affleck will star opposite Henry Cavill, who will reprise the role of Superman/Clark Kent. The film will also reunite “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.
In the announcement, Silverman stated, “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. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”
Snyder also expressed his excitement about the casting of Affleck, noting, “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.”
Kroll added, “We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.’ remarkable legacy with the character of Batman. He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes.”
Affleck recently starred in the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture “Argo,” which he also directed and produced, earning acclaim and a BAFTA Award nomination for his performance in the film, as well as a number of directing honors. In 2010, he starred in and directed the hit crime thriller “The Town.” His recent acting work also includes “The Company Men,” “State of Play,” and “Hollywoodland,” for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Earlier in his career, Affleck starred in and co-wrote (with Matt Damon) “Good Will Hunting,” for which he won an Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay.
The new Super Hero film is being scripted by David S. Goyer from a story he co-created with Zack Snyder. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan and Wesley Coller serving as executive producers.
Production is expected to begin in 2014.
The film is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Batman characters created by Bob Kane, published by DC Entertainment.
Oh, oh, where to begin.
My first snarky remark would be, ” I guess no one at Warners ever saw Daredevil, did they?” I think that was unfair of me to say, because I actually like Daredevil. And I like Affleck as an actor. But there’s something about this that I just can’t put my finger on that is causing me concern.
I will say, that the irony that the same man is playing Daredevil and Batman. Both comic characters have a bunch of similarities: grim and gritty urban settings, rotten luck with girlfriends, both defined by the writing of Frank Miller on their books, etc. Add another connection!
It’s not really a surprise that Warners would go with Affleck. He got them a Best Picture Oscar this year, and that brings up a lot of good will. His good working relationship with the studio is one of the main reasons the rumor he was going to direct Justice League got so much traction.
And he does have the physique for it. He might not look like the Frank Miller hulking brute Batman, but he’s a dead ringer for the lithe athletic Neal Adams Batman. And he’s almost 10 years older than Henry Cavill, so he meets that requirement for the role.
But I think where the majority of my doubts are coming from is if he can pull off the brooding nature of the character better than some of the other actors that were supposedly in the running. I haven’t seen everything Affleck has done, but from what I’ve seen, he seems to play roles not requiring all that much gravitas or that are tortured souls. That, and he was the guy from Gigli and Surviving Christmas.
FilmBuffOnline head honcho Rich Dree sdid help me put this into perspective by saying on Facebook he’s getting Michael Keaton flashbacks. There was a lot of ill will towards his casting as Batman, and he still stands up as one of the best to don the cape and cowl. Affleck has a better support system around him than he did in Daredevil. So who knows.
I guarantee we’ll be talking more about this as days past, assuming there is still an Internet left after this weekend.