Ben Affleck as Batman: Roles that might inform Dark Knight portrayal

Aug. 23, 2013 | 2:05 p.m.
benaffleck1 Ben Affleck as Batman: Roles that might inform Dark Knight portrayal

Ben Affleck, photographed in 2010. The actor has been cast as Batman opposite Henry Cavill's Superman in the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

argo Ben Affleck as Batman: Roles that might inform Dark Knight portrayal

Ben Affleck plays Tony Mendez in his 2012 Oscar-winner "Argo." (Claire Folger / Warner Bros.)

hollywoodland Ben Affleck as Batman: Roles that might inform Dark Knight portrayal

Ben Affleck, right, plays George Reeves in the historical drama "Hollywoodland." George Reeves became famous for his performance as Superman in the TV series "Adventures of Superman." Jeffrey DeMunn, left, and Diane Lane also star in the film. (George Kraychyk / Focus Features)

thetown Ben Affleck as Batman: Roles that might inform Dark Knight portrayal

Ben Affleck, left, and Jeremy Renner in the crime thriller "The Town." (Claire Folger / Warner Bros. Pictures)

armageddon Ben Affleck as Batman: Roles that might inform Dark Knight portrayal

Ben Affleck, right, and Bruce Willis in the blockbuster hit "Armageddon." (Touchstone Pictures)

Batman fans aren’t exactly applauding the news that Ben Affleck will be the next actor to portray Bruce Wayne on the big screen.

Despite Affleck’s twin Oscars and chiseled jaw, Thursday’s casting announcement for Zack Snyder’s sequel to “Man of Steel” was more commonly met with shock and dismay, especially over social media, where superhero enthusiasts tweeted their displeasure and made alternative casting suggestions using the hashtag #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck.

The news was surprising to say the least, but then again, so was Heath Ledger’s landing the role of the Joker (remember fans calling for a command performance from Jack Nicholson?) in “The Dark Knight,” and Anne Hathaway’s casting as Selina Kyle in “The Dark Knight Rises.” In both instances, the actors demonstrated keen instincts for the DC characters. Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his mesmerizing turn.

With Affleck’s less well received performances in such movies as “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl” in the rearview mirror, the actor recently has demonstrated some qualities that suggest he just might be capable of a successful turn in the cape and cowl.

Click through the gallery above for a look at each of the roles that could inform Affleck’s take on Bruce Wayne and his vigilante alter-ego.

“Armageddon” (1998): In Michael Bay’s big-budget action flick, Affleck plays A.J. Frost, a blue-collar oil driller recruited to attempt a risky mission to protect the planet from an incoming asteroid the size of Texas. With a big assist from Bruce Willis, Affleck’s character saves the day (and Earth). Although Bruce Wayne is anything but blue collar, “Armageddon” surely prepared Affleck for a gig that will undoubtedly involve green screens, stunts and larger-than-life heroics.

“Phantoms” (1998): As Jay and Silent Bob could tell you, Affleck was the bomb in “Phantoms,” yo. In the 1998 supernatural horror flick, based on the book by Dean Koontz, Affleck plays Sheriff Bryce Hammond, tasked with sleuthing out the culprit behind a string of grisly deaths.  Batman, after all, is a detective with a cape.

“The Sum of all Fears” (2002): Affleck may be following in the footsteps of Christian Bale and Michael Keaton for the Batman role, but it’s not the first time he’s had big shoes to fill. In the action thriller “The Sum of All Fears,” based on the Tom Clancy novel, Affleck played CIA analyst Jack Ryan, an action hero previously portrayed by Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin. Plus, Morgan Freeman portrayed the CIA director. Perhaps Freeman can reprise his “Dark Knight” role as Lucius Fox and give Affleck a Gotham City tech assist?

“Daredevil” (2003): Affleck has some superhero experience under his utility belt thanks to his role in 2003’s “Daredevil,” based on the Marvel comic book series. He starred as Matt Murdock, a man who survived a bio-waste accident that left him blind but heightened his remaining senses and endowed him with “sonar-sense.” In the film, Daredevil used his special abilities to fight crime and take down mobsters. The role, along with “Gigli” and “Paycheck,” earned Affleck a worst actor Razzie Award. While the film was panned by critics, it opened at the top of the box office, eventually earning more than $179 million worldwide.

“Hollywoodland” (2006): The upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel might mark Affleck’s first turn as Batman, but he’s already played Superman… sort of. In the 2006 crime drama biopic, Affleck portrayed George Reeves, and Reeves, of course, played Superman in the 1950s television series “The Adventures of Superman.” Affleck’s performance won him a Saturn Award as well as a Golden Globes nod. (Bonus trivia: Diane Lane played Clark Kent’s adoptive mother in “Man of Steel” as well as Reeves’ lover Toni Mannix in “Hollywoodland.”)

“The Town” (2010): We know that Boston isn’t Gotham, but the crime-ridden city in Affleck’s 2010 drama may have provided some good antihero training ground for the future Batman. The dark-and-gritty film presents Affleck as Doug MacRay, who robs a bank with his friends and ends up falling for the woman they take hostage. Although he’s not exactly a vigilante crime-fighter, he is forced to live a life webbed with secrets and lies in order to protect those he loves, not unlike Bruce Wayne.

“Argo” (2012): At first glance, Affleck’s Tony Mendez in “Argo” might not have much in common with the Caped Crusader, but both characters maintain secret identities in order to help others. Affleck plays the real-life CIA exfiltration expert who posed as a Hollywood filmmaker in an attempt to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980. “Argo” netted Affleck a best picture Oscar and helped spotlight a true hero who wore a beard rather than a cowl.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+


Christian Bale plays Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight Rises." (Ron Phillips / DC Comics / Warner Bros.)Ben Affleck will play Batman in ‘Man of Steel’ sequel, due July 17, 2015

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19 Responses to Ben Affleck as Batman: Roles that might inform Dark Knight portrayal

  1. fred says:

    Ben Affleck's too nice. Batman needs to be a little warped. Last guy was good he seemed to really enjoy running around middle of the night beating up bad guys

  2. Meow says:

    Tyler Hoechlin from Teen Wolf.

    He's much hotter…… and badass

    • Matt says:

      Everything is not about looks… He's too young looking for the part. I wouldn't be able to take him seriously. He's a good alpha, well former alpha, but that's it. Let the directors make the decisions as they've been doing this longer than any of us have and they won't make any decision that wouldn't benefit them. I trust Nolan and his decision making.

  3. daithi says:

    ben hairflick as batman are you for real its bad enough last guy ruined batman but this will be the nail in the coffin .what next bush as the joker oh wait a minute ? come on no to hairflick as batman

    • Matt says:

      I remember when Heath Ledger was said to be the Joker everybody threw a fit saying "the guy from Broke Back Mountain?" "Seriously?", but it turned out to be the best Batman movie to date. I don't know how, but I was watching Argo a few days ago and somehow I knew that Ben Affleck was going to Batman. I'm interested in seeing what they do with him. You need to take that corkscrew out of your ass and learn to give things a chance. WB knows what they're doing. Nolan also has a hand in this, so learn to trust his decisions.

      • Devon says:

        Matt, Just walk away from the keyboard… you have said enough. try not to embarrass yourself anymore with stupid comments like "It turned out to be the best Batman movie to date" or "WB knows what they're doing" you should know better, That being said people do need to give people chances you will never know, aaand with that being said Just don't give Affleck the chance Just my opinion.

    • John W. says:

      Daithi, pick up a copy of Elements of Style and introduce yourself to the term "punctuation." Seriously.

  4. Lance says:

    This is ridiculous! Afleck is Mr. Nice guy, Mr. Sympathy, not Bruce Wayne!
    P.S. Christian Bale was an awesome batman.

  5. mart says:

    Affleck stunk in Hollywoodland; he's more popular than good. Many were really looking at him to shine in this movie and Adrian Brody and Diane Lane carried him. George Reeves is a fascinating subject and an amazing story.

    Affleck is what Hollywood is about; popularity.

  6. Spellcheck says:

    "grizzly" deaths? Grisly?

  7. Robert Echarri says:

    I'm all for Affleck being Batman. Playing Batman is easy, he's just a vigilante in a suit; playing Bruce Wayne is the real issue and I think Affleck will make a great Bruce; especially seeing as this is supposed to be an older Bruce.

    Also, if everyone would look back, people hated the choice of Ledger as Joker when it was announced, people hated Jackman as Wolverine when it was announced, people hated Downey as Iron man when it was announced.

    Give the man a chance, he might just surprise you.

    • Ri3m4nn says:

      It's not that we don't want him to be Batman. We just don't want to risk the movie doing poorly. If Ben is apart of it, the odds are not in our favor. His movies aren't known for doing well very often…

    • Amon says:

      I'm with you, friend.
      I was introduced to The Dark Knight (my favorite movie of all time now, seriously, I'm obsessed xD) AFTER it was released, but if before, I can tell you I would've objected to Heath Ledger as The Joker. Yet, my oh my, I would've been eating my words. Ledger's performance was stunning, to say the least.

      I also loved Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in TDKR. And RDJ as Iron Man… well, he just -is- Iron Man. I think people need to stop judging a book by it's cover. Everyone deserves a chance. With the right direction, any actor can amaze. Vice versa.

      PS: I hated Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker :/ Though this could just be me.

    • ken GILBERT says:

      Dont forget how people HATED it when Micheal keaton was announced as the new Batman. People said the world was ending.

  8. Christina says:

    Batman & Superman fans WORLDWIDE petition and are strongly against this because:
    POINT #1: Aflac has TOO MUCH FAME BAGGAGE with bad movies Gigli, Daredevil, inability to act well, low class taste in women JLo puke, public gambler arrogant persona, lack of strong presence, lack of sex appeal, to name a few NEGATIVE POINTS.
    POINT #2: He cannot be compared to Ledger (rip) nor Keaton who were able to actually ACT. And, they didn't have the huge fame baggage Aflac has and always will.

  9. chris says:

    I think everybody is missing the real issue and its not Affleck playing bats, I think he will do a good Joe . The issue is how will they make him relevant up next to Supermans powers. If they can do that then Ben will be fine as bats

  10. ken gilbert says:

    As a huge Superman/Batmen fan, I dont like the fact that these 2 icons will be at war with each other. Have we run out of villains? We will NEVER run out of villains. And yet that appears to be the case. I can understand the writers "angst". How does the human batman , battle the SUPER man? Will he throw some gun powder at him with theatricality thrown for good measure? HA
    Mark my words, if these braniac writers go this route, it could spell the end for DC's trip into Hero movie waters. Like 2 football teams about to face off in the playoffs, they need to look at what the other guys are doing. HEY, DC, check out Marvel and see what they are doing. ( dont use "Daredevil" though, BADDD movie, or the punisher, BADDD music, Bad acting, John Travolta , bad miscasting)
    but ,I digress, Marvels on a roll, Avengers, Spider man reboot, Iron man, Captain America, Thor, DUH , need I say more.
    And yet DC takes an icon like Green lantern, And royally butchers it. Who wrote that movie, Daffy Duck???
    What doofus came up with the villains in this debacle? I've seen better storys in readers digest.
    Whoever does the screenplay for B vs S, better get it right or else a lot of money will be spent on nothing.
    They almost blew it on Man of Steel. They went all over the map with making Krypton such a big deal and not staying truer to Supes real origins. "Superman Returns" shows how much having the right writer, director(SEE CHRIS NOLAN) can make.
    The ONLY reason MOS had marginal success was because C Nolan had his fingerprint on it. Lets hope he is associated with S vs B, or better yet, let him write and direct it. Sure fire winner if that happens. Just saying.

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