By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 25, 2013 at 12:52PM
Better get used to it, folks. Ben Affleck is your next Batman. And as the Internet continues to have a collective short memory about the furor that greeted Michael Keaton when he was tapped to play Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's films, or even Christopher Nolan's decision to cast Heath Ledger as the Joker, Warner Bros. is going about their business. We're still just under two years from seeing how Affleck will shade this new incarnation of the iconic superhero, and it seems he's got a few ideas of his own.
In case you missed it in last week's (nearly embarrassing) hysteria surrounding the announcement, the official press release notes that "Affleck and filmmaker Zack Snyder will create an entirely new incarnation of the character." Indeed, as the trades work the phones and try to get more intel about the forthcoming sequel, THR notes that in early days of the negotiating process (it was so secret, few even knew about it his agency or at the studio, hence the surprise) initial talks were centered "on story and character." Given Affleck's experience and success as a writer/director, it's likely no surprise he wanted his fingerprint or at least his ideas tabled, and it's probably safe to say that they will be incorporated in the script confirmed to penned by David S. Goyer, who is conceiving the story with Zack Snyder.
And in case it isn't obvious already, the trade also notes that Affleck is "signed for multiple movies," which means he'll be wearing that cape and cowl for a while. And more importantly, as many folks have already been pondering, THR says that this whole deal "potentially lines Affleck up to star in (and direct?)" in the eventual "Justice League" movie. It doesn't seem to be much more than guesswork now, but you have to remember Affleck was previously offered "Man Of Steel" and "Justice League" to direct, turning them both down. Could starring as Batman be a way for him to test the blockbuster waters and see how that machinery works as an actor before committing as a director? Time will tell.
But what of Affleck's next project, "Live By Night"? Initially, it was slated to shoot this fall. Then, David Fincher's "Gone Girl" came along and it was suggested that Affleck would make that movie, then shift over to lensing the Dennis Lehane flick immediately after for a planned 2014 release. Well, the good news is that it's still happening, but you'll be waiting an extra year. It looks like Affleck will make "Gone Girl," shoot "Superman Vs. Batman" from February to August next year (damn), and in that time, gear up pre-production on the Prohibition saga "Live By Night" for a fall 2014 shoot. So, what does this mean?
Blockbuster Affleck in "Superman Vs. Batman" on July 17, 2015 and Filmmaker Affleck returning with "Live By Night" for what we can only surmise is a 2015 release as well. So for those of you worrying Batman would take Affleck away from a so-far-impressive directorial career, it seems it will only be a slight delay before he's back behind the camera.
Lastly, fans should note: the original LATimes article that broke the "Superman Vs. Batman news had Christopher Nolan only listed as an executive producer on the project. This meant Nolan, who had a hand in writing the story of "Man of Steel," wouldn't really be involved for this sequel. Curiously enough, the more recent aforementioned WB press release announcing Affleck as Batman named several producers and executive producers, but Nolan's name was conspicuously absent. He'll be busy shooting "Interstellar" soon and sadly, it sounds like he's not going to be involved in this ongoing comic book series any longer. Update: BoxOfficeMojo reporter Ray Subers says WB told on Friday that Nolan (and wife Emma Thomas) is still involved, however, adds, "But I agree, it is very odd that they weren't in the press release." Regardless the point stands: Nolan went from co-author of the story and producer on the last film to an executive producer not even listed in the company's press release to the world. EP credits are usually no more than token credits anyhow and it seems he will be on the periphery.