Back in December, Playboy magazine ran an interview with Batman vs. Superman star Ben Affleck on their website, in which the star talked about how his failure on Daredevil had helped shape his approach to the Dark Knight and discussed how Warner Bros. convinced him to take the job in spite of early skepticism on the part of the actor/director.
Well, now that interview has appeared in print, in the magazine's newest issue (we only read it for the Batman articles, we swear!), and it's again being picked up around the Internet.
Since last time we primarily focused on the Daredevil parts of the interview, we figured the other stuff was worth exploring a bit--particularly because the updated version seems to have more meat than what was circulating back in December.
Here's a piece of the interview, via Playboy. Generally we refrain from reprinting a big chunk of someone else's piece, but obviously there are access and age-gate issues with this particular site.
PLAYBOY: When Warner Bros. named you Batman, the internet exploded with hostility. After climbing back from career adversity to win the best picture Oscar for Argo, was your initial reaction more "Not again" or "Screw you"?
AFFLECK: It wasn't either, really. I expected that reaction. Warner Bros. told me, "You should know what you're getting into." They showed me the reactions to other folks who had been cast in these roles. They said this is how it tends to play out initially.
PLAYBOY: What convinced you?
AFFLECK: When they asked if I would be Batman, I told them I didn't see myself in the role and I was going to have to beg off. They said I'd fit well into how they were going to approach the character and asked me to look at what the writer-director, Zack Snyder, was doing. The stuff was incredible.
AFFLECK: It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. It made me excited. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially.
PLAYBOY: How will your Batman differ from the others, particularly the one played by Christian Bale?
AFFLECK: I don't want to give away too much, but the idea for the new Batman is to redefine him in a way that doesn't compete with the Bale and Chris Nolan Batman but still exists within the Batman canon. It will be an older and wiser version, particularly as he relates to Henry Cavill's Superman character.
PLAYBOY: How much did the hostile fan reaction bother you?
AFFLECK: I understand I'm at a disadvantage with the internet. If I thought the result would be another Daredevil, I'd be out there picketing myself. [laughs] Why would I make the movie if I didn't think it was going to be good and that I could be good in it?
PLAYBOY: How would you have handled this a decade ago, when things weren't going so well?
AFFLECK: I probably would have been more sensitive. I had less perspective than I do now. I've learned it doesn't matter what people think before a movie comes out; what matters is what people think when they see the movie. There's a lot of noise in the world, and the internet magnifies that energy. My focus is on the actual execution of the movie. Would I have had that perspective 10 years ago? I don't know. The world was different then. It seems odd to me to criticize casting if you haven't read the script and don't know the tone or the take. But the casting of high-profile projects seems to generate negative attention; it's fun to give your thumbs-up or thumbs-down. I've had the luxury recently of doing Argo,The Town and The Company Men, films that didn't have a high profile. You have the luxury of waiting until the movie is released before being judged. I've learned to think, I may succeed or fail, but I'm going to do so on the merit of my own instincts. It's a great business in that way. You do a movie that's successful, you get a little victory lap, and then you start at the beginning; you have to prove yourself all over again. I like that because it motivates you to work harder. I was thrilled with the reception Argo got. It was one of the great professional experiences of my life. I'm thrilled I'm working with David Fincher in Gone Girl and that I'll direct Live by Night, this big, sweeping gangster-epic morality story.0comments
PLAYBOY: You turned around a cold streak playing George Reeves in Hollywoodland, a film about how his acting career was destroyed after he was typecast as Superman. Did you learn any lessons to prepare you to play another caped icon?
AFFLECK: When George Reeves was Superman you had three TV channels, and that show was iconic. Now there are so many more options. You see actors doing everything from YouTube shorts to big-budget movies. Also, television shows hold you hostage for long periods. My wife was on a show for five years. It's the same with Jon Hamm and Mad Men. It's conceivable you could become hostage to one role. In movies? Look at Robert Downey Jr. He's able to be brilliant in Iron Man and The Avengers, but he can also go do Sherlock Holmes.