A new interview with Justice League and Army of the Dead director Zack Snyder reveals who he would've cast as Batman, if not Ben Affleck. Snyder was reminiscing about getting his start in Warner Bros. DC movie universe; he recalled that there was a brief moment of casting uncertainty between when his Batman vs. Superman sequel to Man of Steel was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2013, and Ben Affleck officially signed on as Batman, months later. While the question of who would be Snyder's Batman hung in the air, there was one particular actor that the filmmaker was focused on, besides Affleck.
In a new episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Zack Snyder admits that Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts was his backup choice for Batman, if Ben Affleck passed on the role:
"I was talking to him a lot about it," Snyder reveals. "He never got in the suit, but I did do a bunch of mock-ups of him, because Ben was on the fence. And I don't blame him. Everyone should be on the fence when you're asked, 'Do you want to play Batman?'"
Affleck wasn't the only one with concerns: Schoenaerts apparently didn't feel that his age (30s) was appropriate to play a version of Bruce Wayne/Batman who is in his mid-40s.
Most fans probably know Matthias Schoenaerts from his role as the traitorous "Booker," one of Charlize Theron's team of warrior immortals in Netflix's The Old Guard. He also played da Soviet commander in the Jennifer Lawrence spy drama Red Sparrow and has starred in awards contenders like Rust and Bone and Oscar-winner The Danish Girl. Schoenaerts would've been in much the same boat as Henry Cavill when he took the Superman role for Man of Steel: Established in Europe but still a somewhat unknown name in Hollywood. He definitely conveys a darker or tormented undertone in a lot of his roles (see: The Old Guard), but 40-something age for Snyder's Bruce Wayne may indeed have been a stretch to pull off.
At this point, it's hard for a lot of fans to imagine anyone else besides Ben Affleck being the Batman in the "Snyderverse" of DC films. Affleck has arguably embodied both sides of the Bruce Wayne/Batman character better than any of his predecessors, combining his celebrity leading man persona with a dramatic edge (and buff physique) that surprised and impressed even the staunchest critics of his casting. Now, DC fans tend to spend more time wondering what might of been had Affleck followed through on taking the baton from Zack Snyder, and directing his own Batman solo movie spinoff.
Zack Snyder's Justice League is streaming on HBO Max if you want a last look at where Ben Affleck's path as Batman could've gone...