Louis G. Wilson. Robert Lowrey. Adam West. Michael Keaton. Val Kilmer. George Clooney. Christian Bale.
And now … you can add Ben Affleck to the list.
From 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.
Naturally, the Internet exploded all over itself, mainly with negative reaction to the news. But many have been quick to point out that similar reactions followed the casting of Keaton, Clooney and Bale (not to mention the Marvel decisions on Downey, Evans and Ruffalo), so there are those who are counseling caution before making any judgement. (And yes, there are already “Matt Damon as Robin” memes going around.)
This announcement comes just a month after the bombshell news that the Man of Steel sequel would include the Caped Crusader, with a quote from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns as a setup, giving fans a hint that the new film will somehow pit the heroes against each other.
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.”
Affleck, of course, is no stranger to the superhero genre, having played Daredevil back in 2003 and George Reeves in the docudrama Hollywoodland. And he was in consideration for directing Man of Steel (and was rumored to be in the running to direct Justice League as well), but he turned it down, saying, “The one benefit of having done all kinds of movies as an actor is, you learn the pros and cons of being tempted to do a really big movie because it costs a lot of money. With Superman, I think they’re going to do a great version. Christopher Nolan is brilliant and they’ve got a great director for it. … Also there are a lot of guys ahead of me on the list to do epic effects movies.”
Speaking of Nolan, as we reported on Comic Con Carne this week, the Man of Steel producer had recommended Wes Bentley for Batman. Affleck was on the short list, but he was probably the longest shot of all of the candidates. Could his re-emergence as a serious film director have influenced the choice? His film Argo won Best Picture, and Affleck himself has a Best Screenplay statue for Good Will Hunting.
But it should be noted that on Affleck’s IMDb page, there’s this quote: “God help me if I ever do another movie with an explosion in it. If you see me in a movie where stuff is exploding you’ll know I’ve lost all my money.”