Batman Vs. Superman: Producer Michael Uslan Talks Casting Ben Affleck
While directors and actors will come and go, there is one man who has been involved with every Batman movie since director Tim Burton's 1989 adventure, producer Michael E. Uslan. Now, almost 18 years later, Batman is finally meeting Superman on screen as he crosses over into the Man of Steel sequel Batman Vs. Superman, which begins production this spring. The producer recently spoke with EP Daily, where he was asked about Zack Snyder's take on the character, and his thoughts about the negativity swirling around Ben Affleck's casting as Batman.
Here's what he had to say about Zack Snyder's vision and the evolution of Batman.
"I feel great. First of all, Zack is a fanboy, and he loves these characters as much as any of us do. Everybody grows as filmmakers, as actors, all of us in life, if we don't continue to evolve something is radically wrong, and it's so interesting to see the evolution for everybody involved and to see the evolution of Batman, it's exciting and everybody is pumped up about it. Its a chance for a new direction, and it's going to be something that people I think will be just so excited about."
When Ben Affleck was cast as The Dark Knight last year, it set off a firestorm of negative reactions from fanboys all over the world. Now entering his 25th year with the franchise, Michael E. Uslan is no stranger to these kinds of reactions, revealing his initial thoughts about Michael Keaton being cast as Batman were similar to the Ben Affleck backlash.
"It starts with this, I've lived this in the past before and I'm speaking now really more as a Bat-fan than as the Bat-producer. We went through it all with Michael Keaton. I lead the charge from the first time I heard Tim (Burton) was thinking of hiring Michael Keaton to play Batman. I'd go, 'Oh my god, all the work, I've put in all these years to do a dark and serious Batman, he's going to hire a comedian!' I could envision the posters: 'Mr. Mom is Batman,' but then he explained his vision, he had a vision, and he was right. This is all about Bruce Wayne, it's not about Batman, it's all about Bruce Wayne. If you're trying to do a serious, dark superhero, people have to believe in Bruce Wayne as that obsessed driven guy, to the point maybe of almost being psychotic. A guy who would get dressed up as a bat and do what he did. So we went through the hoopla with Michael Keaton. The fans were the same reaction that I had initially, except I had the benefit of hearing a vision right away. Then when they actually went to see the movie they never wanted anyone else to play Batman, never. A number of years go by, and then all of a sudden the torches and the pitchforks go up, 'Oh my god, the guy that played the gay cowboy is going to be The Joker? They're going to destroy the greatest super villain in history.' And then after Heath Ledger's performance, when they actually went to see it, nobody ever wanted The Joker played by another actor again. So here we are, with an Academy Award winning filmmaker. You look at his last bunch of movies, Hollywoodland, he had me convinced he was George Reeves. The Town, Argo, just really, really great quality of work. Again, I'll go back to what Tim said in the beginning, it's all about Bruce Wayne, and when you focus on it, Bruce Wayne, maybe in his mid-forties, what's he going to be feeling? What's he going to be thinking? What does he have on his plate to deal with? I just couldn't be more excited about it."
Zack Snyder is directing Batman Vs. Superman from a script by David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio, with production scheduled to begin this spring. Do you think fans are overreacting to Ben Affleck's casting? Or do you think he's completely wrong to play The Dark Knight?