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Ben Affleck Opens Up About His Feelings After Batman Casting Backlash

Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Some hardcore DC Comics fans can probably remember the moment they first learned Ben Affleck would be donning the iconic cape and cowl to play Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. On the other hand, some likely also recall the backlash that resulted from the casting decision. Affleck himself has since been candid about his time working on the DC Extended Universe and what he’s taken from his experiences. But now, he’s opening up about his feelings following the initial blowback from his casting.

As is the case with many high-profile superhero roles, there’s a considerable amount of pressure that comes with taking a part. What adds to this is that many fans can have preconceived notions about what said character should or shouldn’t look like. Ben Affleck, however, was apparently eager to play Bruce Wayne despite any external expectations. But as he recently explained, he was “hurt” when he saw the early pushback once he landed the gig:

I was hurt. I was less hurt than I would've been 10 years earlier. But I was hurt because I felt like 'Wait a minute, come on. What do I got to do to' you know what I mean? Like, I'm just you know, like, 'Jesus Christ'...I thought it was an interesting idea but you know what? I also realized at that point...it's gonna be, 'Now this turns into a petition.' Now they got this thing, everybody's going to do a petition. You're really – a hundred thousand [signatures], you signed a fucking petition like, you have anything better to do with your day than sign petitions? But, ironically, the reason I did this is I wanted to do a movie for my kids, particularly my son, that they would see and be proud of.

The petition that the star mentioned during his appearance on The Howard Stern Show really did gain momentum quickly. One can honestly understand how the Tender Bar actor feels about the situation. The idea of so many being against you taking a role, ahead of you actually performing said part, would likely be mentally draining for just about anyone. But of course, the massive number of signatures did not deter Warner Bros. or Zack Snyder from going with their chosen Caped Crusader.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ultimately hit theaters in 2016 and was met with mixed to negative reactions from fans and critics. Ironically though, Ben Affleck’s performance was singled out as a bright spot. Many fans, in particular, liked his seasoned and jaded take on Bruce Wayne, which was heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. 

The actor would then go on to appear as  the character in Suicide Squad later that year before reprising the role in a big way in 2017’s Justice League. He was also set to direct, write and star in the original incarnation of The Batman but ultimately dropped out of the project and eventually walked away from the role altogether. The Good Will Hunting alum would later explain that his decision to leave was based on how the strenuous work was affecting his personal life. He even recalled that a friend feared that he would delve back into alcoholism if he had taken on the film. Just recently, he also attributed his time working with Joss Whedon on the JL reshoots, which he called “the worst experience,” as another reason for choosing to step away. 

Though Ben Affleck is closing the book on his time as a DC superhero, he does one more big-screen Batman appearance coming up. Affleck will officially wrap up things for his costumed hero in Ezra Miller’s The Flash this year. Though details on the character’s exact role in the multiverse-infused film are scarce, he seems to have enjoyed his experience on the set. 

To say that Ben Affleck’s time as Batman was filled with ups and downs would be an understatement but, at the very least, it would seem that he’s getting to go out on his own terms. He’s also walking out the door with a bit of praise from some fans and kind words from people like Matt Reeves, the director of this year’s The Batman. Many fans were also pumped for and ultimately satisfied with how things played out with the character in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. We’ll see how Affleck finishes things out when The Flash races into theaters on November 4, 2022.

You can also check out the actor’s past Dark Knight appearances by streaming the DCEU films on HBO Max.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.