The rage circle that erupted when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder-directed Batman vs. Superman, overtook Twitter when it was announced on Thursday night. Every social network, even Bebo (maybe?), exploded with anguished cries of either “Affleck as Batman? NOOOOOOOOOOO!”, or “Another person complaining about Affleck as Batman? NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” in an enjoyable ring of pain.
It’s since come out that Affleck may have signed on for quite a few films (along with, like something straight from the internet’s wet dreams, Bryan Cranston potentially playing Lex Luthor), and the furore has died down somewhat. This means we can look back on that time and examine the wreckage to help identify the factors that led to such a surprising announcement.
To that end, The Hollywood Reporter has shed some light on the negotiations and shenanigans that led to the Argo actor-director being cast as the caped crusader. Apparently, initial talks began in secret, just after the completion of Man of Steel earlier this year – the creative team reached out to Affleck to see how they could make the character work for him – the article suggests he had some input on story, which is a given with that level of star-power, but still notable given that presumably there’s no official outline or script yet. Other actors in contention were Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, but as the latter is avowedly against sequels, he was never seriously involved.
It wouldn’t be Affleck’s first encounter with the Nolan-envisaged Superman world either, as he was actually offered Man of Steel to direct, turning it down because of his bad experience with Daredevil. Not only that, but his casting in Batman Vs. Superman allows Warner Bros. to show their support for Affleck after he took home the Best Picture Oscar for Argo.
Having a big name draw attached to the film will also help out up-and-comer Henry Cavill who, even though he was good as Superman, perhaps isn’t quite A-list enough for the film’s backers. Of course, controversy over superhero casting is nothing new – the internet was famously against Heath Ledger as The Joker, a sentiment that is almost blasphemous nowadays. It remains to be seen how Affleck will do in Batman Vs. Superman, but one thing is certain; the internet will certainly have something to say about it.
Production starts on Batman vs. Superman in 2014. Tell us, are you excited to see Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader?