Where were you when the Batfleck announcement happened? I was at a screening of Edgar Wright’s The World’s End when the internet imploded. When I exited the theater I checked my email and saw the subject line “Ben Affleck Is the new Batman!” from my colleague Ed Douglas, and since I was in no position to actually get this story up on the site, I went to Twitter to see what everyone was saying. Some people liked the idea, others were not pleased.
Some of the comments in our original article on the story range from:
“I felt a great disturbance in the Force. As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced…when they found out that Ben Affleck will be the new Batman.”
All the way to:
“This is the worst casting since Heath Ledger….wait, what?”
I’m sure a number of these people have changed their tune, and no doubt many are still opposed to the idea, but given that we’ve had now one full year where Ben Affleck has been Batman we wanted to go back and take a look at all of the stories pertaining to his casting in the film. So take a walk with us down memory lane, and watch the world of Batfleck unfold before you once again.
August 3, 2013 – Before Batfleck
Before we actually get back to the Ben, we should start on August 3 when six names emerged as being up for the role including: Ryan Gosling, Joe Manganiello, Richard Armitage, Matthew Goode, Max Martini, and Josh Brolin. It’s always refreshing when the rumors of casting don’t point toward the person that actually gets the role, keeps us on our toes.
August 22, 2013 – Batfleck Forever
An official press release is sent out in which WB president Greg Silverman said the following:
“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’’most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some.”
Director Zack Snyder also made a statement on the casting, saying:
“Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”
At the time, the only cast members from Man of Steel confirmed to appear in the film were Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane. Also, don’t forget this was back when the film was scheduled to be released on July 17, 2015.
An online petition began asking WB to “Remove Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the Superman/Batman movie,” it gained over 97,000 signatures.
August 23, 2013 - Batman Smash
The following day, a new story debuted reporting that Affleck was spending “two hours a day in the gym to get his physique ready for the role” of Batman.
August 24, 2013 – Batfleck Begins
Two days after the initial announcement, it was revealed that Affleck had been in discussions with the studio since the start of the year about taking on the role. Affleck was reportedly open to the idea and began discussing the story and the character with Snyder and when he liked what he heard, negotiations began for him. This report also confirms that Affleck signed a multi-picture deal.
August 27, 2013 – Colleagues react!
A few days later, the reactions from folks other than online commenters started to role in. Former Lucius Fox Morgan Freeman was surprised by the announcement saying:
“My first reactions are ‘Wow’ and ‘Good luck.’ After the trilogy, I thought that no one would try it again for a few years more to let this whole thing die down, because it’s still there. So I don’t know, I hope Ben does well.”
Affleck’s Good Will Hunting co-writer Matt Damon spoke very highly of his friend, while also crushing our dreams that he might also appear.
“I think it will be great. It will be terrific. I know there are a lot of people grousing on the internet. I just think it’s kind of funny. You know, he’s not playing King Lear. It’s Batman! Certainly within his skill set. If anybody saw ‘Argo’ or ‘The Town,’ and all the work he’s been doing lately, it’s way more nuanced and interesting and way more difficult than Batman! Batman just sits there with his cowl over his head and whispers in a kinda gruff voice at people. Bruce Wayne is the more challenging part of the role, and Ben will be great at that… But it’s safe to say I won’t be Robin.”
September 8, 2013 - The Mad Titan was almost The Bat
In September of last year, actor Josh Brolin would later confirm that he was indeed up for the role of Batman before Affleck was cast.
“You know, another scenario might have worked better, but I’m happy for Ben.”
Brolin, of course, would go on to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the role of Thanos.
September 12, 2013 – Batman just wants a nap
Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara gave an interview on Batman in the upcoming film, where it was first revealed that the version we’ll be seeing is quite different from the other big screen batman.
“[He will be] tired and weary and seasoned and been doing it for awhile,” Tsujihara said of Wayne and his cowled alter ego. “…We think it’s going to be huge.”
September 17, 2013 – Batfleck speaks!
Affleck appeared the next week on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” where he gave his first interview following the big casting announcement.
“It’s so awesome, man. I’m so excited. They called me up and said, ‘do you want to do this,’ and I’m like, ‘What? I’m not 25, man, are you sure about this? They said come down and we’ll show you what we’re doing, and it was incredible,” Affleck told Fallon. “Zack, the director, Zack Snyder is directing, he has this incredible take on it, that’s like… Obviously we can’t do what Chris [Nolan] and Christian [Bale] did, those movies are amazing, so he wants to do something different, but still in keeping with that, so I had to like, I thought this is a brilliant way to do this and I really know how to hook into this. And I said, ‘okay, I want to do it.’”
You can watch the full interview in the player below.
Head over to page 2 to see the first stories on the Bat-suit and more!
(Photo Credit: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com)