Ben Affleck's Batman Movie

Another day, another remark from Ben Affleck has come regarding the state of development on what is meant to be he first turn directing himself as The Dark Knight in the DC Extended Universe movie that may or may not be called The Batman.

Ben Affleck has consistently said that he wouldn’t direct a solo Batman movie unless the script was good, but more recently he sounded a bit more optimistic. However, now I’m starting to wonder if Affleck is just messing with film journalists, because he’s back to saying the project and his involvement is on unstable ground.

Let’s recap what’s been said recently about The Batman, or whatever Ben Affleck’s Batman movie ends up being called. Back in December, there was a rumbling that Justice League 2 was going to be pushed back in order to make room for The Batman in 2019. A few days later, Ben Affleck was asked about the project, and he had this to say:

“We still have to get a screenplay and get it together. … I’m a real believer in not reverse-engineering projects to meet a window or a date, but rather when you get the right story, when the right idea, when the right thing, then you make the movie. That’s what we’re doing, and I’m hoping to get that done. I’m spending a lot of time working on that, but also working on other stuff.

If I could, if I could find it right, there’s nothing I’d love more than to direct a standalone, iconic, great Batman movie. But it’s been done. Chris Nolan did three really great movies. I’m really mindful of that. I’m in not any hurry to jam the mediocre movie down the pipe. I really want to make sure that, if we do it, we get the great version and one that’s worthy of the tradition of guys like Tim Burton, Chris Nolan, and Christian Bale.”

That sounds like exactly what Affleck has been repeating again and again every time he’s asked about the project. But then, just two days later, former Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman said the plan was to shoot the movie in 2017 with an eye towards releasing in 2018. Around that same time, Ben Affleck sounded much more optimistic about the movie coming together when he said:

“We’re on the right track with that and everything is coming together. We’re still finishing up a script. I’m very excited.”

A few days after that, an interview from Entertainment Weekly (via Batman-News) had Affleck saying this:

“I’m still working on the script. I’m not going to write and direct anything that I don’t think is good enough to be made. I’m definitely going to make sure I have something that is special — there’s not enough money in the world to make a mediocre version of Batman worth it.”

Admittedly, that interview could have been from further back than his more optimistic viewpoint on the movie, but even if that’s the case, the Debbie Downer side of Ben Affleck has come back in an interview with The Guardian. Affleck confirmed plans for him to direct and star in the solo Batman movie, but also cautioned that it could just as easily not happen:

“That’s the idea. But it’s not a set thing and there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great, I’m not going to do it.”

You can’t blame Ben Affleck for not blindly committing to something as daunting as a Batman movie if he’s not yet confident in the script. But if he’s adamant about not doing the movie should the script not be up to snuff when the time comes, does that mean he’s not officially signed to do that movie yet? Or is Affleck just being dodgy about it so fans know that he’s deadly serious about doing it right?

Honestly, it just sounds like Ben Affleck isn’t going to be beholden to a timetable for delivering The Batman just because the studio has a release date in mind. LRM Online noticed another quote from Entertainment Weekly that lets us know where Affleck’s head is at:

“I’ve spent more time on Live By Night than I did on my two DC movies combined, and that feels really good. I have nothing against superhero movies, but I’m nostalgic for the kind of movie that Live By Night plays homage to, when that was what constituted a big Hollywood movie. That was why I wanted to spend my time there when I wasn’t wearing a cape.”

Maybe I’m just reading too much into this, but that doesn’t sound like someone who is dying to go back into superhero territory. At the very least, it sounds like someone who doesn’t want to be rushed, and wants to take as much time getting The Batman ready as he did for Live By Night, a movie that arguably doesn’t need to impress as many people since it’s nowhere near as anticipated as a new Batman movie.

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