When a recent rumor placed Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice's take on Bruce Wayne as a fifty-something man, it was a bit head-scratching.
After all, they had just cast 41-year-old Ben Affleck, and while he's older (and playing older) than previous iterations of the Dark Knight, it didn't make a ton of sense to have the character be narratively older than the actor playing him. The salt-and-pepper hair in Affleck's temples in recent set photos didn't particuarly skew the perception one way or the other, since you could have that hairstyle in your '40s or '50s depending on a number of factors.
Longtime Batman producer Michael Uslan, though, chimed in during an interview with the Asbury Park Press this weekend. As part of a retrospective on Tim Burton's Batman, the film widely credited with creating the superhero blockbuster as we know it, Uslan was asked about fan complaints regarding Affleck's casting as the iconic superhero.
Here's Uslan's response:
“Of course, we got it intensely when another genius, Chris Nolan, chose Heath Ledger to play the Joker (in 2008’s ‘The Dark Knight’). And it was a huge outcry: ‘How can a guy who just played a gay cowboy (in 2005’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’) play the Joker? You’re going to destroy the greatest villain ever, this is going to be a laugh.’
“So, this has happened time and again, and it happened with Affleck. To go back to the original thought of Bruce Wayne in his mid-40s, I think he’s going to be extraordinary.”
Most of this, of course, has been seen before. The comparisons to Heath Ledger have been a staple of Warner Bros.' defenses of Affleck since his casting was announced, and fans have picked up on it, too. Uslan, in particular, has often noted that he had a similar experience with Michael Keaton, although it was less pervasive since there was no Internet fan community to contend with in 1989.
Still, the drop of his age seemingly conflicts with the rumors that Batman would be (even) older than expected, and puts him roughly back in line with Affleck's real age and thus the expected age for the character. Casting him a few years older than Affleck actually makes sense if they plan to eventually shoot a couple of movies back to back which may be released within about a year of each other but have a time lapse between them rather than a cliffhanger.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is due in theaters on May 6, 2016.