While the vitriol has subsided considerably, there was a massive outpouring of negativity from fanboys around the world when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in Batman Vs. Superman. The actor, of course, is no stranger to the superhero genre, portraying blind vigilante Matt Murdock in Marvel's 2003 adventure Daredevil. During a recent interview with Playboy, the actor revealed that Daredevil was the only movie he ever regretted, which may have been part of the motivation in taking on the Batman role. The actor also spoke about the immense negative reactions from the fans and how he handled that, how Zack Snyder's vision convinced him to take the role, how this new version of Batman doesn't "compete" with Christian Bale's version, and how he has grown as an actor and an artist over the past 10 years.
The actor was told that George Clooney keeps a photo of himself as Batman from the failed 1997 movie Batman & Robin, as a reminder of what can go wrong when you take a role for the wrong reasons, i.e. money and fame. When asked if he would have a similar photo in his office, Ben Affleck had this to say.
"I'd probably have two or three. [laughs] It'd be tough to choose. The only movie I actually regret is Daredevil. It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got [frick]ed up the way it did stays with me. Maybe that's part of the motivation to do Batman."
He also revealed that Warner Bros. warned him ahead of time that the Internet reactions would be severe when his casting was announced, while discussing how hesitant he was about taking on the role, a subject he addressed back in October. However, he revealed that director Zack Snyder's vision is what sold him on the role.
"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. 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. 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. 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?"
When asked about how his version of The Dark Knight will differ from Christian Bale's iconic take in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, he teased that his version doesn't compete with Christopher Nolan's films, while still existing in that same canon.
"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."
The actor also spoke about his growth as an actor, revealing that he would have been more sensitive about all the negative reactions surrounding his casting if it would have happened a decade ago, when his career wasn't as thriving as it is now.
"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."