Ben Affleck isn’t holding back on his likes and dislikes about working on Justice League amid the chaos and revisions. Naturally, it rubbed him the wrong way and the actor/director says there is nothing that would bring him back to the fold to revisit, at the very least, Batman. He is very much “done” despite what James Gunn indicates.
This is what Affleck had to say in his new interview with The Hollywood Reporter and he doesn’t mince words. By the time work on Justice League came around, the stories of superhero movies “became somewhat repetitive to me and less interesting.” He added that figuring out how to play Batman took time and The Flash was where he “nailed it.”
“Yeah, I did finally figure out how to play that character [Batman], and I nailed it in The Flash. For the five minutes I’m there, it’s really great. A lot of it’s just tone. You’ve got to figure out, what’s your version of the person? Who is the guy that fits what you can do? I tried to fit myself into a Batman,” he said.
Affleck liked “a lot of the stuff” he did in Batman v Superman but working with Zack Snyder made it palatable. When Snyder bowed out of Justice League, it became a teachable “seminar on all the reasons why this is how not to do it… from production to bad decisions to horrible personal tragedy, and just ending with the most monstrous taste in my mouth.”
The “silver lining” came in the form of The Snyder Cut. “Zack Snyder eventually went to AT&T and was like, ‘Look, I can get you four hours of content [for HBO Max],’” Affleck recalled. “He was like, ‘Do you want to…shoot in my backyard?’” Though worried about the Union, Affleck still “went and did it.”
The finished product, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, went on to become the “highest-rated movie on IMDb” of Affleck’s career. Asked if “intense” Snyder fans had anything to do with that, Affleck countered, “Say what you want…I’ve never had one [movie] 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.”
That bomb, the studio’s cut of Justice League, cost him a shot at directing The Batman among other slights that disheartened Affleck professionally. “[It] 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…full of some shitty experiences. It broke my heart,” he explained.
“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,” he continued. “That was hard. And I started to drink too much…it was either that or jump out the window.”
“Miserable,” missing his family, and dissatisfied with acting in rubber suits against a green screen, Affleck started to reevaluate his life. “You want to go to work and find something interesting to hang onto,” he 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.”
As a result of his spiritual and creative crisis, Affleck decided to go back to making smaller films and founded a production company with Matt Damon. Whether he’s had meetings with Gunn as reported or is on a shortlist of directors for Brave and the Bold, he says he has no interest in either. “Absolutely not,” Affleck said. “I’m not interested in that.”