The actor has been vocal about why he is leaving the role behind, remarking that “the person who does this should love it,” and he had lost that love. Pair that with the fact that the franchise itself is heading in a different direction, with James Gunn set to introduce his own version of the Dark Knight in the new DCU movie, The Brave and the Bold.
But the Batman v Superman actor has been through the wringer, being a part of some of the more maligned comic book movies of all time and never getting his moment in the sun.
Ben Affleck Reflects on Justice League Experience
In a new interview, Batman actor Ben Affleck lamented his 'miserable' experience working on the DCEU's Justice League movie.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Affleck remarked that "you could teach a seminar on all the reasons why" Justice League ended up becoming the critical disaster it became:
"You could teach a seminar on all the reasons why this is how not to do it. Ranging from production to bad decisions to horrible personal tragedy, and just ending with the most monstrous taste in my mouth."
However, he made sure to mention the "silver lining" of AT&T and Warner Bros. allowing director Zack Snyder to see his original vision for the film after having to leave the project before it was complete:
"The genius, and the silver lining, is that Zack Snyder eventually went to AT&T and was like, 'Look, I can get you four hours of content.' And it’s principally just all the slow motion that he shot in black-and-white. And one day of shooting with me and him. He was like, 'Do you want to come shoot in my backyard?' I was like, 'I think there are unions, Zack. I think we have to make a deal.' But I went and did it. And now ['Zack Snyder’s Justice League'] is my highest-rated movie on IMDb."
The 50-year-old actor addressed the passion Snyder fans have for the filmmaker's work (specifically when it comes to his time with DC). He said "say what you want," but Snyder's 4-hour re-release of Justice League is his "highest-rated career movie:"
"Say what you want, it is my highest-rated career movie. I’ve never had one that went from nadir to pinnacle. Retroactively, it’s a hit. All of a sudden I was getting congratulated for the bomb I’m in."
But by the time the Snyder Cut hit HBO Max, the damage was already done. He remembered that he was "going to direct a Batman," but it was the experience of making the original cut of Justice League that "made [him] go, 'I’m out. I never want to do any of this again:'"
"But I was going to direct a Batman, and [Justice League] made me go, 'I’m out. I never want to do any of this again. I’m not suited.' That was the worst experience I’ve ever seen in a business which is full of some shitty experiences. It broke my heart. There was an idea of someone [Joss Whedon] coming in, like, 'I’ll rescue you and we’ll do 60 days of shooting and I’ll write a whole thing around what you have. I’ve got the secret.' And it wasn’t the secret. That was hard."
He revealed this was when he "started to drink too much," ultimately deciding something in his life needed to change and he was done with the character of Batman:
"And it wasn’t the secret. That was hard. And I started to drink too much. I was back at the hotel in London, it was either that or jump out the window. And I just thought, 'This isn’t the life I want. My kids aren’t here. I’m miserable.' You want to go to work and find something interesting to hang onto, rather than just wearing a rubber suit, and most of it you’re just standing against the computer screen going, “If this nuclear waste gets loose, we’ll …”
Affleck made it a point that "[he doesn't want to] condescend," but "[he] got to a point where [he] found it creatively not satisfying:"
"That’s fine. I don’t condescend to that or put it down, but I got to a point where I found it creatively not satisfying. Also just, you’re sweaty and exhausted. And I thought, 'I don’t want to participate in this in any way. And I don’t want to squander any more of my life, of which I have a limited amount.”
Ben Affleck's Bat-Future
While it has been looking like Ben Affleck is done with the DC franchise for quite some time, these latest quotes are likely the nail in the coffin.
This is not the first time the actor has spoken negatively about his Justice League experience, recently comparing his time working on the upcoming The Flash film and Joss Whdeon's DC team-up.
He said The Flash was "really lovely" and that "[he] had a great time," especially considering that his "prior experience had been difficult." He did not outright say Justice League, but it can be assumed he is talking about that particular film.
Justice League specifically was not just a miserable career experience for the actor but a miserable personal experience as well. He previously mentioned this was around the time he "started drinking too much."
This led to people in his life like his longtime collaborator and good friend Matt Damon to make the actor reflect on the work he is doing and what he wants out of his career, eventually reevaluating how he was spending his time.
And thus, Bat-fleck was no more. Sure, there has been mention of the actor coming back to direct a project in the new DCU. However, that looks less and less likely as the actor pursues projects he is enthusiastic about.
Ben Affleck can next be seen as DC's Dark Knight in The Flash, which hits theaters on June 16.