Rumor watch: Tonight, Collider Talk podcast is reporting that Ben Affleck wants out of the Batman role he’s played three times now — in “Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice,” a small part in “Suicide Squad” and the upcoming “Justice League.” Collider Talk’s John Campea said he has three different sources within Warner Bros. that confirm Affleck wants out. “Ben Affleck, make no mistake, he wants out. He doesn’t want to be Batman anymore,” he said on the show this week.
Campea added that his sources have told him that Affleck is in active discussions with Warner Bros. to remove himself from his DCEU deal which includes “The Batman” movie tentatively scheduled for 2019. However, if a deal cannot be reached in time, this solo outing will be the last appearance Affleck makes as the character (man, imagine a studio that knows your lead actor doesn’t want to be there?)
The flipside? Campea says to take this rumor with a “grain of salt,” which is frustrating because if you don’t trust a rumor you’re circulating, you shouldn’t circulate it at all. Still, this is what many reporters do to save their hides in case their story goes sideways — it’s the get out of jail card that says, “well, I told you it was very possible I was wrong.”
As irritating as that position is, this rumor does fit a recent profile. And those paying attention will know that this rumor also popped up in a recent Forbes piece (though to be fair it was quasi speculation). Citing a workload that would be too difficult. Affleck recently bowed out of “The Batman” directing role. “Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give,” he said in a statement. “It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require.”
The actor said working with Warner Bros. they would decide to find a new director together. That filmmaker appears to be “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” helmer Matt Reeves, but the deal isn’t final and “The Batman” comes with a lot of baggage, so let’s wait and see. When Reeves took over ‘Dawn Of The Apes’ franchise he tossed a script by Scott Z. Burns and started all over again. Will WB let him make such a similar move Meanwhile, Affleck has already expressed weariness and frustration with the ever-present scrutiny of which he is under due to the superhero role that fans are rabid about.
“It’s one of those things that’s really frustrating — with ‘Live by Night,’ it took me a year and a half to write it and get it ready and I worked really hard, and nobody gave a sh–. No one was like, ‘Where’s ‘Live by Night’?!’ But with Batman I keep on getting, ‘Where’s the f—ing Batman?!’ and I’m like, ‘I’m working! Can you give me a second?!” he said, exasperated earlier this month.
The filmmaker could easily just be exhausted. He’s separated, has to juggle his family, and then there’s the fact he was juggling his passion project “Live By Night” while taking on the Batman role in three different films — a lot to take on, but it would be understandable if Affleck had enough (something we’ve already posited here).
Affleck leaving the part would be a massive blow to the already struggling DCEU — pretty much a franchise killer. Outside of Affleck, there’s are few major stars in the project aside from Will Smith, who doesn’t look like he’s returning anytime soon and Margot Robbie, who’s still ascending. Henry Cavill’s done well as Superman, but outside the franchise, he’s hardly an A-lister. Affleck’s the one part of “Batman V Superman” that didn’t take a paddling and much of the DCEU’s continued success rides on his shoulders. And maybe this is exactly why the actor wants out. Either way, expect damage control and a swift denial from either Affleck himself or Warner Bros. Every day there’s a story that “The Batman” script is in trouble, and or being rewritten from scratch and then the next day, it’s fine. Expect an up and down narrative for the next few months until something official happens. And or, just take it all with a grain of salt…