Even though the release date for “Batman Vs. Superman” has been pushed to 2016, production hasn’t been delayed by any significant measure, with filming still slated to start this spring. And while we’re yet to see if this means an even bigger sequel or perhaps something more for the cast members, it amounts to more time they’ll have to spend artfully answering questions without giving anything away. And so, perhaps it’s not a shock that when Ben Affleck sat down with Playboy, he couldn’t say much, though he did confirm the longstanding rumors that his Bruce Wayne won’t exactly be a young playboy.
“I don’t want to give away too much, but the idea for the new Batman is to redefine him in a way that doesn’t compete with the Bale and Chris Nolan Batman but still exists within the Batman canon. It will be an older and wiser version, particularly as he relates to Henry Cavill‘s Superman character,” he explained, adding that he first turned down the role until he learned more about the part. “It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. It made me excited. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially.”
However, while Affleck might be excited, there is a very vocal crowd of people who can’t get past his turn in “Daredevil” over a decade ago, and the actor just hopes fans can understand he wouldn’t have signed up for “Batman Vs. Superman” if he thought he was going to repeat history: “I understand I’m at a disadvantage with the internet. If I thought the result would be another ‘Daredevil,’ I’d be out there picketing myself. [laughs] Why would I make the movie if I didn’t think it was going to be good and that I could be good in it?”
That being said, even Affleck admits perhaps taking on Bruce Wayne is way to make up for past sins. “The only movie I actually regret is ‘Daredevil.’ It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got fucked up the way it did stays with me. Maybe that’s part of the motivation to do ‘Batman.’ “
Indeed, throughout the interview, Affleck is candid about his failures, describing “Paycheck” as “mediocre,” and “Surviving Christmas” as flat out “bad.” But, even with “Daredevil,” he’s found things to take away from the movies that didn’t work throughout his career.
“Look at ‘Daredevil.’ That’s where I found my wife. We met on ‘Pearl Harbor,’ which people hate, but we fell in love on ‘Daredevil.’ By the way, she won most of the fights in the movie, which was a pretty good predictor of what would happen down the road—my wife, holding swords and beating the living shit out of me,” Affleck said.
“The Rotten Tomatoes rating is not in direct proportion to how important a life experience a movie was. ‘Surviving Christmas’ is a one tomato, which means a shitty movie. Again, it should’ve been better, could’ve been better. To me, meeting James Gandolfini and getting to know him at such an interesting and important period in both our lives, and the degree to which we bonded and became friends, is something I wouldn’t trade for anything,” he continued. “He was a lovely man, and so tough on himself. Most of the good things in my life have come out of movies that didn’t work very well. That made that movie a great experience, despite what people said about it. As you point out, like ‘Pearl Harbor,’ ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Surviving Christmas.’ The hit movies I’ve done did nothing for me personally.”
It’s certainly a mature outlook, and probably one achieved by going through a period in his career where it looked like Affleck was over. And moving forward, he’s taking it one movie at a time. “I’ve learned to think, I may succeed or fail, but I’m going to do so on the merit of my own instincts. It’s a great business in that way. You do a movie that’s successful, you get a little victory lap, and then you start at the beginning; you have to prove yourself all over again,” Affleck explained. “I like that because it motivates you to work harder. I was thrilled with the reception ‘Argo‘ got. It was one of the great professional experiences of my life. I’m thrilled I’m working with David Fincher in ‘Gone Girl‘ and then I’ll direct ‘Live by Night,‘ this big, sweeping gangster-epic morality story.”
And when he puts it like that, it’s hard to argue that Affleck doesn’t know exactly what he wants and is aiming to work with best material possible. “Batman Vs. Superman” opens on May 6, 2016.