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Ben Affleck Addresses The Batman Backlash In Recent Playboy Interview

Ben Affleck understands backlash. One doesn’t star in a string of duds like Jersey Girl, Gigli and Surviving Christmas without acquiring a thick skin. The guy survived "Bennifer," the demeaning nickname born of an incredibly high-profile romance with Jennifer Lopez. He thinks he can handle some internet furor over his recent casting as Batman in Zack Snyder’s developing Man of Steel sequel, and I tend to believe him.

Affleck sat down with Playboy magazine a while back for an interview that surfaced in the January/February issue of the publication (read the SFW version here). While the conversation seemed to take place right after it was revealed that Affleck had been cast, the candid actor/director talks about the immediate reaction to his casting, as well as the parts of Snyder’s vision that lured him to the role. His comments are enlightening, and should be shared. About the fan-lash, Affleck admitted:

I understand I'm at a disadvantage with the internet. If I thought the result would be another Daredevil, I'd be out there picketing myself. [laughs] Why would I make the movie if I didn't think it was going to be good and that I could be good in it?... [But] I've learned it doesn't matter what people think before a movie comes out; what matters is what people think when they see the movie. There's a lot of noise in the world, and the internet magnifies that energy. My focus is on the actual execution of the movie. Would I have had that perspective 10 years ago? I don't know. The world was different then.It seems odd to me to criticize casting if you haven't read the script and don't know the tone or the take. But the casting of high-profile projects seems to generate negative attention; it's fun to give your thumbs-up or thumbs-down. I've had the luxury recently of doing Argo, The Town and The Company Men, films that didn't have a high profile. You have the luxury of waiting until the movie is released before being judged. I've learned to think, I may succeed or fail, but I'm going to do so on the merit of my own instincts. It's a great business in that way. You do a movie that's successful, you get a little victory lap, and then you start at the beginning; you have to prove yourself all over again. I like that because it motivates you to work harder."

Affleck goes on to admit that he passed on the role initially, but was swayed by Snyder’s approach to the classic Batman character.

The stuff was incredible. … It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. It made me excited. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially."

And Affleck concludes by saying that his one true regret in his acting career remains Daredevil, because he loves the character and really wishes his attempt at playing Matt Murdoch turned out better. Well, the Man Without Fear is getting new life on television, and Affleck is getting yet another chance to redeem himself in the eyes of a constantly judging audience by continuing the saga of the Batman on screen. He doesn’t want to replicate what Christian Bale did in the Nolan movies. He wants to match Henry Cavill in a Snyder movie.

Is that better? Worse? We have until 2016 to debate. The comments might be slightly dated, but I think it’s good to know Affleck’s mindset as he prepares to film this massive blockbuster. The fate of the D.C. Cinematic Universe could depend on it.

Sean O'Connell

Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.