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Ben Affleck Says Friends Worried He’d ‘Drink Himself to Death’ If He Didn’t Give Up Batman

Affleck once said he left "The Batman" because he couldn't crack the script, but now he says there were far more personal issues at stake.

Ben Affleck'Justice League' film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 13 Nov 2017

Ben Affleck

Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Ben Affleck said last year one of the reasons he gave up his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne after two Warner Bros. tentpoles was because he “couldn’t crack” the script for the Caped Crusader’s standalone superhero movie “The Batman.” While that may be true, Affleck gives a far more personal reason for giving up Batman in a New York Times profile that dropped ahead of the theatrical release of the actor’s upcoming drama “The Way Back.” The Times spoke with Affleck about his decision to exit his Batman role and reports that “the troubled shoot for ‘Justice League’ had sapped his interest” in helming a standalone Batman movie.

Affleck starred as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the Zack Snyder-directed “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Justice League,” both of which were widely panned by film critics. “Justice League” was also a box office disappointment, grossing just under $250 million in the U.S. Affleck tells The Times his struggles with alcoholism hit hardest between 2015 and 2016, which just so happens to be during the release of “Batman v Superman” and the production of “Justice League.” Affleck said it was a friend of his who put into perspective how dangerous it would be to go through with another superhero tentpole, one in which he would have the added responsibilities of writing and directing.

“I showed somebody ‘The Batman’ script,” Affleck said. “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.’”

Warner Bros. announced January 31, 2019 that Affleck was leaving the Batman role and “War of the Planet of the Apes” helmer Matt Reeves was boarding the project as the new director. Affleck appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” a few weeks later to explain what happened. “I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter but just couldn’t come up with a version,” he said on the show. “I couldn’t crack it and so I thought it’s time for someone else to take a shot at it. They got some really good people so I’m excited.”

Following Affleck’s exit, Reeves and Warner Bros. brought on Robert Pattinson to play Batman/Bruce Wayne. “The Batman” is currently in production and already has a theatrical release date set for June 25, 2021.

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