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The Batman Director Matt Reeves Explains Why He Turned Down Ben Affleck’s Original Movie

Robert Pattinson as Batman in The Batman
(Image credit: DC Films)

Batman has appeared in various incarnations throughout the DC Extended Universe. Ben Affleck was the latest celebrity to don the iconic black cape - that is, until Robert Pattinson was cast in The Batman. Apparently, director Matt Reeves was in the running to direct Ben Affleck, but he turned the script down. Why? It all came down to personal taste. 

In an interview with Esquire, Matt Reeves explained his reasoning behind turning down Ben Affleck’s version of Batman. He said: 

I read a script that they had that was a totally valid take on the movie. It was very action-driven.It was very deeply connected to the DCEU, with other major characters from other movies and other comics popping up. I just knew that when I read it this particular script was not the way I'd want to do it. I said look, I think maybe I'm not the person for this.

Matt Reeves, who was in the middle of finishing War of the Planet of the Apes at the time, clearly had a very specific vision for any Batman project he decided to undergo. And while it’s true that there are many valid variations of Batman, it’s also true that a director should feel a personal connection to the script. Matt Reeves harbored no ill feelings towards Ben Affleck or Warner Bros. - he simply had a different take on the iconic character. He explained: 

And I explained to them why I love this character. I told them that there have been so many great movies, but if I were to do this, I'd have to make it personal, so that I understood what I was going to do with it, so that I know where to put the camera, so that I know what to tell the actors, so that I know what the story should be.

The Batman is certainly a more personal project for the acclaimed filmmaker. Matt Reeves’ stylish thriller is decidedly noir, and it’s a detective story almost more so than a superhero movie. His vision was so singular that the movie isn’t even part of the DCEU. Rather, The Batman provides an opportunity for Matt Reeves to explore a darker side of the Dark Knight without having to worry about inter-film continuity or the inclusion of extra comic book characters. Ben Affleck definitely played a valid Bruce Wayne - but there’s room for multiple versions of the Caped Crusader. 

Matt Reeves’ The Batman is now playing in theaters everywhere. You can also check out Ben Affleck as Batman in Justice League and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with your HBO Max subscription, or find out how his version of the Dark Knight stacks up against other Batman movies

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.