Ben Affleck’s Batman was the best part of 2016’s otherwise-middling Batman v Superman movie. One promising element of Affleck becoming the Dark Knight that we never got to see, though, was a self-directed movie from Affleck called The Batman, which for a while he was co-writing with comics superstar Geoff Johns.
That movie, of course, now stars Robert Pattinson as a Dark Knight in his early days – a big change from Affleck’s older, wearier Caped Crusader. Even after Affleck stepped down from directing, though, and Matt Reeves (who helmed the last two Planet of the Apes movies) took over, Affleck didn’t officially leave the role of Bruce Wayne behind until January 2019.
In a candid interview with The New York Times, which explores the actor’s challenges with alcoholism, Affleck has now explained why he didn’t direct and star in the movie.
“I showed somebody ‘The Batman’ script,” Affleck says. “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.'” The piece also mentions that the troubled Justice League shoot had “sapped his interest” in the Batman role, which is fair enough.
The interview details Affleck’s struggle with alcoholism around 2015 and 2016, which is when Batman v Superman and Justice League were in production and talk of The Batman was rife. The profile piece is well worth reading – and those after more Affleck onscreen can catch him in The Way Back, a sports drama releasing in April 2020.
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The Batman always seemed like an exciting idea with Affleck at the helm, especially after directing great modern movies like Argo, The Town and Gone Baby Gone. Affleck even released test footage of Deathstroke, largely expected to be the movie’s villain:
https://t.co/0NsNzCtGipAugust 29, 2016
The Batman will now be a very different movie, with Reeves writing his own script alongside screenwriter Mattson Tomlin. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see the Affleck/Johns version of the script out in the wild.
In 2018, Jay Oliva, who directed DC animated movies such as The Dark Knight Returns, said this about it: “The original Affleck script was the best Batman script I’ve ever read. Ben had a kick ass story and I believe that the audience and fans would have loved it.”
The Batman will release on June 25, 2021.