Ben Affleck was a man long destined to be the caped crusader. A man so mirrored to the bat, he’d even built himself his very own Batcave inside his home. Having embodied the fiction of Bruce Wayne, Affleck found himself stepping into the suit for the first time to bring another first to cinemas, battling Superman.
Approaching a character that has already been cemented in the minds of comic book fans, Affleck made sure his transition was a process of re-creating, rather then forming something foreign to the established character. He found the direction of Zach Snyder and the writing of Chris Terrio created a harmony between a new and distinctive Batman without tarnishing the original character.
“It’s just such an iconic character that the biggest challenge going into it was this sort of daunting aspect of playing a character who’s got such a fixed place in people’s minds already. So, people’s expectations were, I think, the biggest challenge. I didn’t get to create the character. I had to recreate something and hope that it fits into our idea of who Batman is and hope people would accept my nuances on the character.”
The suiting of Affleck was highly anticipated, and so too was his prophetic first role to be the first time Batman and Superman traded blows on the big screen. Coming to the film as the obvious underdog, Affleck felt that the battle between Batman and an invincible alien was not as one sided as fans might have predicted.
“The truth is that if you just started out with Batman and Superman, obviously Superman would win because he’s an alien – he’s invulnerable – and Batman is just a human being. But in the story you’ll see there are various reasons why their powers are evened out a bit, and made more equal. Then it’s a question of – I don’t want to say character, but determination.”
While the superhero genre has been generally washed for ‘summer blockbusters’ that are not often well received critically, Affleck approached the role of Batman as he would any other role. He felt that it was important to treat the role very seriously, and made consideration to Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan’s recent efforts and the honor that comes with playing the prolific character.
“People might see this as just a comic book or Super Hero movie – not that serious. To me, it was quite serious, and something of an honor. It hasn’t been done many times. And the times that it has been done before, it’s been done by artists that I respect a great deal – most recently by Christian Bale, who I think is a miraculously good actor, and Christopher Nolan is a director I admire enormously, as well as others who I admire. So I took it very seriously.”
The preparation and filming process for the film were also no short matter. With any Batman film comes strict gym regimes, but apart from the physical commitments, Affleck spent time invested in the details of the role and exercising his imagination for how he could play his role.
“This movie loomed so large for me that it was kind of and obsession about what it meant to play Bruce Wayne and the details that would be involved. It’s the way you prepare for any role, really – thinking about what I want, how I want to play it, what I want to do, and using as much imagination as I can. As Zack said, this is obviously a film where you’re using more imagination than you would typically, so it was a lot of imaginative research.”
Dawn of Justice reaches its crescendo in the fight scene between the two heroes, which on film only runs for a space of minutes. Affleck explained how much work went into the fight behind the scenes, and how the concord between Henry Cavill and himself allowed the scene to go so smoothly.
“The truth is that what looks like one fluid sequence is actually comprised of a lot of different pieces, whether they’re visual effects, practical effects, stunts, us, inserts, and so on and so on. It’s really very fragmented. So, in fact, what looks like a fight is actually much more of a sort of cooperation and collaboration, and actually requires that you get along quite well with the other actor so that you can figure out how to make it work, and I had a great partner – Henry – and thank God that we got along and figured out how to work well together to try to make it look good”
The staple to any Batman film is the Batmobile, and the latest model took inspiration from the 90’s Tim Burton Batmobile and the contemporary Nolan Batmobile, to concoct one of the most visually stunning cars to date. Affleck found it to be one of the most exciting elements of working on the film, for both him and his son.
“They only let me drive it a little bit. It’s very fast. And it’s very loud in the Batmobile … it’s very cool. I mean, there’s nothing like being in the Batmobile and seeing the real Batmobile to make you feel like you’re doing Batman things. My son came visit the set and I put him in the Batmobile and I could see he was like, ‘Oh my! It’s the real thing!’”
Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice is slated for DVD release on the 20th of July.