It certainly feels as though Ben Affleck has been shortchanged during his run as Batman.
Not counting upcoming film The Flash, Affleck has so far played DC‘s Dark Knight in three films (four if you want to count the “Snyder Cut” as its own separate entry), including his small appearance in Suicide Squad. The films were mosly met with mixed reviews and divided fans. Add to that, the fact that Affleck didn’t get to star in his own solo Batman film – one that he was poised to direct.
While there have been many reasons discussed as to why Affleck’s Batman film was scrapped, the fact remains that by the time the project finally rolled around, he simply didn’t want to make it anymore. As to why – a variety of options remain… but you can definitely count Affleck’s experience making Justice League among them.
Talking to The Los Angeles Times, Affleck makes no qualms about his experience making Justice League – a troubled production that saw director Zack Snyder leave following the tragic loss of his daughter and Joss Whedon brought in to reconfigure and finalise the film.
“That was a bad experience because of a confluence of things: my own life, my divorce, being away too much, the competing agendas and then [director] Zack [Snyder]’s personal tragedy and the reshooting. It just was the worst experience. It was awful. It was everything that I didn’t like about this. That became the moment where I said, “I’m not doing this anymore.” It’s not even about, like, “Justice League” was so bad. Because it could have been anything.”
Ultimately, without passion and motivation, it’s no doubt best that Affleck opted to pass on The Batman – both for his own’s sake and the content. BUT, it’s not over for Batfleck just yet. Affleck will be appearing as the Caped Crusader one last time in DC’s upcoming multiverse adventure The Flash, which he says “put a really nice finish on my experience with that character”.
Affleck also talked about his change of outlook when it comes to doing things for financial success and audience acclaim. Essentially, he has decided to start tackling projects and roles that he is interested in and passionate about – even if they don’t quite land at the box office. Ridley Scott film The Last Duel, for example, saw Affleck reunite with Matt Damon on writing duties (Nicole Holofcener also penned the script) and also take on a role as the secondary antagonist. Despite decent reviews, the film failed financially, earning $US30 million worldwide from a reported $100 million budget.
“I mean, “The Last Duel” came out and every article was like, “It made no money.” And I really loved the movie, and I liked what I did in it. I was disappointed more people didn’t see it, but I can’t chase what’s going to be cool. I’m happy with it. I’m not preoccupied with notions of success or failure about money or commercial success, because those things really corrupt your choices. Then what happens is the movies are less interesting and you’re less good.”
Affleck can be seen in the George Clooney-directed coming-of-age drama The Tender Bar, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.