As production begins on a new Batman movie with a new actor portraying the Dark Knight, we are finally gaining more insight into what happened to the last man to play the role, Ben Affleck. Ben Affleck played the Caped Crusader in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, as well as cameoing in Suicide Squad. Then, he left the role for good. In a candid interview, the actor recently revealed that his struggles with alcoholism convinced him to end his time as Batman.
Now, Ben Affleck is revealing another reason he ultimately hung up his Batman cowl. In an exclusive interview at The Way Back junket with CinemaBlend’s own Mike Reyes, Ben Affleck told us:
You know big blockbusters are cool and they’re great. But they’re not that fun to make, just on a very practical level, because they’re very long, they’re very compartmentalized, you’re doing one tiny piece at a time. Often times, you’re just feeling like you’re moving your foot a quarter of an inch. They’re hard to continue to motivate yourself, and find your passion. I stepped away from The Batman movie, because I felt like it should be made by someone whose lifelong passion it was, you know what I mean? And if that wasn’t me, then I wasn’t the right guy.
As far as reasons to hang up the cowl go, this is a pretty good one, even if it is kind of sad at the same time. In addition to concerns about his drinking, Ben Affleck told Mike that he hung up the cowl because he had simply fallen out of love with playing Batman and acting in these types of big blockbuster films, as The Batman would obviously have been. A lot of that had to do with the process that goes into making movies.
While big blockbusters are fun to watch and Ben Affleck isn’t going all Martin Scorsese and decrying their existence, he admitted that the process of making them is not always an enjoyable one. The way he describes it, making a big superhero film sounds like an absolute slog that can beat you down and when you’re in that kind of grind, it’s difficult to stay motivated and feel excited and passionate about the character and the project -- presumably particularly if you are dealing with other personal stuff at the same time.
This ties in with Ben Affleck’s previous comments about how his struggles with alcoholism resulted in him leaving the role. Justice League had a famously problematic production and that no doubt amplified the difficulty and unpleasantness that goes into blockbuster filmmaking. Making Justice League sort of sapped his enthusiasm for the role, so it’s understandable he wouldn’t want to go through it again.
Ben Affleck had already played the Dark Knight in multiple films, and although he never got to do a solo film with his character, it sounds like he had pretty much had his fill of it and wasn’t passionate about doing the job anymore. When you couple that with concerns about his drinking, it’s an obvious decision. Putting your health at risk in the first place isn’t a good idea, and why do it for something that you don’t even feel passionate about?
Once he got to that place, Ben Affleck felt that he wasn’t the right person to star in and make The Batman and that it should be done by someone who had the passion to do it justice. While many may lament the truncated nature of Affleck’s Batman tenure, it’s hard to argue with this line of thinking. I think all Batman fans want the actor who plays him to be as committed to Batman as Batman is committed to cleaning up the streets of Gotham.
So for Ben Affleck and perhaps for The Batman, him hanging up the cowl was the right decision. Still though, what his Batman movie would have been will remain a source of great intrigue and wishful thinking.