Producer Talks Ben Affleck Casting in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Charles Roven produced all three entries in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy, and now that he’s knee deep in director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he’s talked to The Hollywood Reporter about why controversial choice Ben Affleck was always their #1 pick to reboot Batman.

“He was the first guy we went to. That’s who we wanted,” explains Roven. “We knew that we wanted a very mature Batman, because we wanted to juxtapose him with this very young Superman. So we wanted a guy who was tougher, rugged, who had signs of life, who had lived a hard life, and we wanted the guy to have chops, for sure. So when we went down that list, there just weren’t a tremendous number of guys who could carry that.”

Roven says that while Nolan remains onboard the sequel to last year’s Man of Steel as an executive producer, his involvement took a back seat to directing Interstellar, yet was integral in the casting of Affleck. Apparently another item on Roven, Snyder and Nolan’s checklist for Bat-candidates was a height requirement, something which Affleck had in spades.

“We also wanted a guy with big stature. Ben is 6′ 4″. Henry [Cavill] is 6’1″. We wanted Batman to tower over Superman. Not hugely, not like a basketball player. Superman needed to ‘look up’ to Batman. We wanted that dynamic, and Ben could do that, easily,” Roven continued.

Of course, other thesps were earmarked for the role at one point, including Ryan Gosling, who turned it down flat, and Josh Brolin, who had discussions with Zack Snyder that evolved into a mutual decision that it was not the best idea. Affleck needed a bit of persuading as well.

“I wouldn’t say he hesitated,” Roven says of Affleck’s decision. “I think that what he did do was that he made sure that he understood what Zack was looking for. [Affleck] wanted to know exactly how Zack planned on treating this Bruce Wayne that was going to make him completely different even though he was still Bruce Wayne, still Batman. He’s much more of a social animal in the Bruce Wayne incarnation, but he’s also an extremely rough guy in the Batman incarnation – very, very, very rough.”

Sounds like Affleck’s Bruce Wayne public persona will be less a smug brat/Howard Hughes-esque recluse as the Christian Bale incarnation and more a Type-A, media savvy businessman. We also like the sound of a fiercer, more brutal Caped Crusader. They don’t call him the Dark Knight for nothing.

Coming to theaters on May 6, 2016, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Scoot McNairy.