The saga of Ben Affleck's Batman franchise has finally become longer than the slow crawl that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Despite the film's disappointing reception with critics and at the domestic box office, Warner Bros. pushed ahead with its planned DC Cinematic Universe, insisting upon a Ben Affleck-written, -directed, and -starring Batman series that would pick up after the ensemble-driven Justice League film, which hits theaters in November.
But things slowly began to turn sour, it seemed, for Affleck's vision of The Batman. In January, on the press tour for Live by Night, Affleck revealed he was stepping away from directing himself in a stand-alone Batman film. "Nobody was like, 'Where's Live by Night?!' he complained in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. "But with Batman, I keep on getting, 'Where's the fucking Batman?!'"
Enter: Matt Reeves, who took over directing duties of the Affleck-penned Batman script—a script he immediately scrapped, as he revealed just last week. "It's a new story," Reeves said. "It's just starting again. I'm excited about it. I think it's going to be really cool."
If you were Ben Affleck—annoyed with all of the questions about playing a character about which you've already received a lot of grief, and whose interpretation was slowly being taken away from you—would you feel like you weren't supported and appreciated by the folks who put you in the role in the first place? Would you begin to suspect your job security maybe isn't as strong as you originally thought?
Well, rumors are floating around Warner Bros. that Affleck's Batman days are limited. As The Hollywood Reporter's Kim Masters reports today, a source says that the studio is already planning Affleck's exit from the role:
Exactly when and how that might happen has yet to be determined, but it would be wise to bet against Affleck starring in The Batman. He has already stepped away from directing the film and Reeves is dropping the script that Affleck wrote with D.C. Entertainment's Geoff Johns.
Director Reeves, who is now working on his own Batman script, is in it for the long haul—and his ambitious vision for Batman might be too much for the middle-aged Affleck.
Reeves also has acknowledged that he has a Batman trilogy rolling around in his head, and given his success making two-thirds of a trilogy out of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes, it seems fair to anticipate that Warners will want him to realize his vision.
In addition, Affleck will turn 45 in August, so he would be pushing 50 before The Batman arrives in theaters. If Reeves makes a trilogy, Affleck would be in his mid-50s at best by the time that's done. Maybe Tom Cruise could pull that off, but Affleck's body hasn't exactly been a temple.
Ouch. Sounds like Affleck needs to cool it with the vaping if he wants to stick this series out. Maybe he can convince his Justice League co-star Gal Gadot to let him have a bit part in the next Wonder Woman.
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