2021 has turned out to be a great year for Zack Snyder. After being on the receiving end of fans' wrath since making Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, he finally redeemed himself with the well-received Justice league HBO Max cut. In the latest episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Snyder revealed that he had talked to actor Matthias Schoenaerts about taking on the role of Batman had Affleck passed it on prior to production on Batman V Superman. This surprised many fans. Snyder said this about Matthias Schoenaerts possibly donning the cape and cowl.
"I was talking to him a lot about it. He never got in the suit, but I did do a bunch of mock-ups of him because Ben was on the fence. And I don't blame him. Everyone should be on the fence when you're asked, 'Do you want to play Batman?"
This news had many DC fans, and casual viewers alike, wondering out loud, "Who is Matthias Schoenaerts?" Because the actor isn't exactly a household name. Though, chances are you've probably seen him. Especially if you subscribe to Netflix and partake in their original movies.
At the time of casting, Matthias Schoenaerts was concerned that he was too young to play an older version of Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman. Schoenaerts is a Belgian actor who has worked in mostly in Belgian, French, British, and Hollywood films. Most fans will probably know him from Netflix's The Old Guard, where he acted alongside Charlize Theron and played "Booker". He also played the villain in Tom Hardy's vastly underrated The Drop.
But his best roles were in the Oscar-nominated Bullhead and Rust and Bone. He made his acting debut at the age of 13 in another Oscar-nominated film, Daens. Schoenaerts would have been 36 had he been cast in Batman V Superman at the time of production way back in 2015. Instead of Ben Affleck, who was 42 at the time. While that's not a big age difference, Schoenaerts was a relatively unknown actor at the time. And fans would have kept their expectations low. Ben Affleck on the other hand was a household name and previously ventured into superhero territory in the badly received 2003's Daredevil.
Due to Schoenaerts youthful looks, we could have gotten a completely different version of Batman than we saw in Batman V Superman and Justice League. Zack Snyder took inspiration from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns comic and Ben Affleck did justice to the older and more mature version of Bruce Wayne. Schoenaerts himself felt uncomfortable playing a forty-something Batman and had he been cast, we may not have seen Frank Miller's aged take on the Batman Vs. Superman fight. That didn't happen, and we got a buff, violent and somewhat older caped crusader in the form of Ben Affleck who managed to silence his harshest critics.
While Joss Whedon's Justice League may have mishandled the character, 2021's Snyder Cutt redeemed him. And now Affleck is returning to don the cape one more time in the upcoming Flash movie. Affleck was also supposed to make a solo film set in Arkham Asylum in which Batman goes head to head with Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke, but that seems unlike to happen now.
As for Schoenaerts, he has since then starred in some amazing movies and worked with acclaimed directors like Thomas Vinterberg, Terrence Mallick, and Steven Soderbergh. we could also see him in the sequel of The Old Guard which has been green-lit by Netflix.