Posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
Visiting the set of Zack Sndyer‘s Justice League, we were told that we would not be interviewing any of the film’s cast. And especially not Ben Affleck, whom I’ve heard typically doesn’t do press while he’s filming a movie. We were watching them film a scene that features Commissioner Gordon meeting with a few members of the Justice League (read about that scene here). As production wrapped for the day, the costume department removed his bat cowl, leaving him with a damp head and eyes ringed with black eyeshadow. On his way to his dressing room, Affleck stopped to say hello to us.
Christian [Bale] never let reporters see him with the raccoon eyes, proving that Christian is a much smarter man than I am.
Affleck jokes about his appearance, although talking to him even underneath sweat and raccoon eyes, you can understand the power of a movie star of his caliber.
I look like… What’s his name.
The name wasn’t coming to Affleck’s mind, not at the end of a ten-hour day of filming. One of the other reports on set offered an answer, Alice Cooper.
There you go. So that’s what I got going. Alice Cooper during my off days. My alter ego.
Ben Affleck Justice League Interview
This sounds like a different Batman. Bad guy’s flying monkeys. He’s got a little bit of an attitude.
Yeah, he’s a little bit more sardonic, humor, a little more irony. He’s on a little more man on a mission this time. As opposed to like he was so full of anger because of what happened at the Black Zero Event. That kind of character, that sort of rage that possessed him. And now he’s on a mission to get this group together. To constitute this League. But, more of his, that sort of Bruce Wayne, wry, ironic gallows humor comes out. He’s not like a “haha” jokey, but that sort of stuff comes out a little bit. A bit of, his sort of darker humor stuff is present.
Does he have a hard time playing with others?
Yeah, that’s sort of the interesting thing about this Batman is that on the one hand, he’s sort of the ultimate loner, but on the other hand, he’s sort of tasked with putting together a group. So is the guy who basically broods in a cave all day really the best person to put together a team of superheroes? And he doesn’t have huge success initially. He rubs some people the wrong way or they rub him the wrong way, he’s got to figure out how to play well with others. He barely knows how to play well with Alfred.
Does he see the Flash as sort of a Robin-esque character?
That’s interesting, there’s an element of that to it. There’s a quality to really what Ezra [Miller] does that is young and fun and full of life, and excited about what they’re doing that’s so in contrast to who Batman is, there’s a little bit of that natural yin and yang to playing scenes with him. There’s not the ward aspect to it, but there’s a little bit of the mentor. Which you’d probably ask Ezra and he’d be like, “fuck that! He’s not my mentor!” But I think there is a little bit. And it’s fun to play, definitely. And what does Batman do around a guy who’s really excited and positive all the time? [Laughs.] You know what I mean? That’s not his natural state of being, so that’s really fun. And it’s been really, really cool. Everybody has brought a certain kind of energy to their character that’s really distinct in this thing. All of a sudden, it’s a totally different kind of movie, in ways from the last one because all of a sudden it’s really an ensemble movie. This is a movie about a bunch of different people and qualities and characters all sort of how they work together, what that melting pot is like.
One of the things that is really well done about BvS is your fight scenes. That scene where you take the bullet in the back of the head and continue going is fuckin’ great. How are you ramping up from that to this? In terms of what Batman can do?
We have the same guys who choreographed and came up with those. I like to say it was my idea, but I just do what they tell me. And the same, lot of the same from visual effects, from practical effects. A lot of these guys doing really creative cool stuff and they just come up with really great ideas. It’s the same way I would appreciate it were I directing which is to say, find a great stunt coordinator and great effects guys, and stunt guys. You can sort of execute this stuff and put yourself in their hands and let them do it. It’s kind of like getting a great composer. It’s almost a separate thing that layers into the movie. And if it works, it feels like it’s flawlessly integrated. How could Star Wars exist without that music?
This time around, you’re an executive producer on this. How does that change you and your role, like ownership on Batman?
Why I’m an executive producer is that I’m directing one of the movies. So there’s sort of this cross-pollination of story and characters and I don’t want to give any of that stuff away, but it basically means that there are some things that might happen in my Batman that are affected by, I mean, here we are in the police station in Gotham City. There’s a potential that something like this might exist in that story. So it’s a creative way that DC came up with of kind of being a filmmaker-driven company and entity and also making sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing and so that there’s collaboration and supervision. So that somebody doesn’t go sailing off, causing problems for your movie with their movie. You know, in a way, it’s also a kind of a courtesy. You know what they’re doing, one hand knows what the other is doing, and I get to weigh in on stuff that impacts the Batman stuff.
How big is the role of Geoff Jones in this?
Uh, big! Geoff is a big part of things. He’s not here right now, he’s having a baby, but Geoff’s a great guy and there’s nobody that knows more that I know about comic books. He’s got great taste and he’s really super smart and super nice, and Jon Berg as well has a big role. Really this is Zack’s role and we’re here executing Zack’s vision.
Is Batman doing the detective work as kind of his part in this movie, or is he working with a team of detectives?
It’s definitely, the world’s greatest detective aspect of Batman is more present in this story than it was in the last one, and will probably be expanded upon further in a Batman movie that I would do. I think all the great Batman stories are, at their heart, detective stories. That’s why they feel like noir movies in a way. Somehow feels like it could be The Maltese Falcon. But at their heart good Batman stories are, like I said, detective stories. And with detective stories, there’s a “what’s happening” element, but there’s also a, “how do I find these people and bring them together? How are we going to work together successfully?” Sort of a multilateralist –