Why Ben Affleck Is Done With Batman & The Other DC Comics Superheroes
Ben Affleck’s excellent-looking Air is gearing-up for release and therefore the actor/director/producer/writer/CEO is out promoting the film. He sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for a a wide-ranging chat and talked about the nightmare production that was Justice League – why he’s now happy with his performance as Batman after working on The Flash – and how he will never direct a DC Comics movie for James Gunn.
The Ben Affleck interview is fascinating because he talks about the changing face of the movie business and his new company Artists Equity. You can read the whole thing here– but check out the pertinent Batman/DC points below.
On Justice League:
Justice League … You could teach a seminar on all the reasons why this is how not to do it. Ranging from production to bad decisions to horrible personal tragedy, and just ending with the most monstrous taste in my mouth. The genius, and the silver lining, is that Zack Snyder eventually went to AT&T and was like, “Look, I can get you four hours of content.” And it’s principally just all the slow motion that he shot in black-and-white. And one day of shooting with me and him. He was like, “Do you want to come shoot in my backyard?” I was like, “I think there are unions, Zack. I think we have to make a deal.” But I went and did it. And now [Zack Snyder’s Justice League] is my highest-rated movie on IMDb.
Say what you want, it is my highest-rated career movie. I’ve never had one that went from nadir to pinnacle. Retroactively, it’s a hit. All of a sudden I was getting congratulated for the bomb I’m in. But I was going to direct a Batman, and [Justice League] made me go, “I’m out. I never want to do any of this again. I’m not suited.” That was the worst experience I’ve ever seen in a business which is full of some shitty experiences. It broke my heart. There was an idea of someone [Joss Whedon] coming in, like, “I’ll rescue you and we’ll do 60 days of shooting and I’ll write a whole thing around what you have. I’ve got the secret.” And it wasn’t the secret. That was hard. And I started to drink too much. I was back at the hotel in London, it was either that or jump out the window. And I just thought, “This isn’t the life I want. My kids aren’t here. I’m miserable.” You want to go to work and find something interesting to hang onto, rather than just wearing a rubber suit, and most of it you’re just standing against the computer screen going, “If this nuclear waste gets loose, we’ll …” That’s fine. I don’t condescend to that or put it down, but I got to a point where I found it creatively not satisfying. Also just, you’re sweaty and exhausted. And I thought, “I don’t want to participate in this in any way. And I don’t want to squander any more of my life, of which I have a limited amount.”
The Justice League experience, the fact that those stories became somewhat repetitive to me and less interesting. Yeah, I did finally figure out how to play that character [Batman], and I nailed it in The Flash. For the five minutes I’m there, it’s really great. A lot of it’s just tone. You’ve got to figure out, what’s your version of the person? Who is the guy that fits what you can do? I tried to fit myself into a Batman. And by the way, I like a lot of the stuff we did, especially the first one [Batman v Superman].
I would not direct something for the [James] Gunn DC. Absolutely not. I have nothing against James Gunn. Nice guy, sure he’s going to do a great job. I just wouldn’t want to go in and direct in the way they’re doing that. I’m not interested in that.