Producer Barbara Muschietti reveals Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton became "quite emotional" about the returns of their respective Batmans in The Flash movie. Keaton, back in the cape and cowl 30 years after Tim Burton's Batman Returns, joins SnyderVerse star Affleck in reprising the role of the Dark Knight opposite a time-traveling Barry Allen (Ezra Miller). When Barry races through the Multiverse, encountering Supergirl (Sasha Calle) and his counterpart from another dimension (also Miller), he recruits Keaton's veteran caped crusader and reunites with the Batman of his universe after saving the world together in Justice League.
"I don't think it was very difficult," director Andy Muschietti said of Affleck and Keaton's Batman returns during The Flash panel at virtual DC FanDome China. Quipped Miller, "We just sent up the Bat-signal."
After his two turns as Batman in 1989 and 1992, Keaton "was honored to come to do this character again" 30 years later, Muschietti said. "But mainly we sent him a great script, and that is probably the thing that got him interested. It's more complex than this...we gave him a great script, and I promised him great direction. And that was about it."
"The waters were warm," added Miller. "He jumped right in."
The script from DC's Birds of Prey and Batgirl writer Christina Hodson had to convince not one but both Batmen to return. Affleck officially hung up the cape and cowl in 2019 after the theatrical version of Justice League, later telling GQ he had lost "enthusiasm or passion" for the role he'd originated in Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
According to Barbara Muschietti, The Flash filmmakers had to convince Affleck and Keaton to return to a role they had largely left behind. (Affleck participated in a brief round of additional photography in 2020 to help complete Zack Snyder's Justice League, the filmmaker's long-fabled Snyder Cut.)
"Batman is a very dark character. I think once [actors] play the role, they are done," Muschietti said. "I think this was a bit of a surprise for both of them. It took them a while to warm up to the idea of reprising, of playing this character again, especially Keaton. Keaton had not been Batman for 30 years."
She added it was "amazing to see that both of them, both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton, got quite emotional at coming back once they were with us, and they got to put on the cowl and the cape."
"I think they both felt the small joy that comes with playing that character and had fun with it," Muschietti said. "It was a great experience."
The Flash races into theaters on November 4, 2022.