Why Ben Affleck Quit Playing Batman

Published on February 18, 2020

Ben Affleck got a raw deal as Batman. Sure, he got paid millions of dollars to play pretend with Aquaman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, but from the sound of it, the experience wasn’t what Affleck imagined when he signed up for the DC Universe. He had high hopes. Those hopes were quickly destroyed by the reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and a disastrous experience making Justice League. Now, Affleck is being honest about why he quit the role.

Affleck Was Going to Direct The Batman 

Long before Matt Reeves cast Robert Pattinson as the next caped crusader, Affleck was working on directing The Batman. He had a script. A good script, too, but according to Affleck himself, not a great script. He couldn’t crack it. As a result, Affleck stepped down from directing. For months, Affleck and Warner Bros. pretended he was still going to star in The Batman. All the rumors indicated otherwise. Finally, Affleck completely quit the project, and as a result, Matt Reeves cast the younger Batman he had in mind, Robert Pattinson.

Why Ben Affleck Quit

At the time of Affleck’s departure from the role, all he said was he couldn’t get the script right. The real reason why, Affleck has now revealed, is a bit personal. It wasn’t a matter of creative differences between him and Reeves or anything like that. 

The actor has been open about his struggles with alcohol, and in a recent interview with The New York Times, said they were a part of the reason why he quit Batman: 

“I showed somebody The Batman script. They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went though again.'”

That’s reason enough to quit a project. 

Good for Affleck 

Affleck probably left a lot of money on the table stepping away from the role. He probably doesn’t need the cash anyway, but good for him putting his personal and mental health first. That’s far more important than a movie, especially a superhero movie. As Affleck alluded to, he already had a rough experience with Justice League. Why take on more pain and punishment? As the rumors go, director Zack Snyder was fired by Warner Bros. The studio then brought in Joss Whedon (The Avengers) to perform reshoots and rewrites, cut Snyder’s vision to the bone, and delivered a butchered and ugly Frankenstein monster in the form of Justice League. It was a bad experience all around that Affleck didn’t want to repeat. Even worse, if Affleck spent years more of his life playing Bruce Wayne, that probably would’ve meant less movies for him to direct. More of Affleck behind the camera, not in a rubber suit, is far more desirable. 

Ben Affleck is Too Human for Superheroes 

Ben Affleck is like the Billy Joel of movie stars. We know his faults. We know he’s human. Like Billy Joel, it’s what a lot of people like about Affleck. Good or bad, he’s real. There isn’t glamour or a mask hiding personal troubles or past mistakes. It’s why his next movie, the sports drama The Way Back, looks promising. It looks revealing and personal, which is what audiences want to see from Affleck. He’s been open these past few years about addiction and his past, and that vulnerability, that’s his appeal. Who wants to see him dress up in a Halloween costume and punch cartoons? That’s not interesting. What is interesting, however, is Ben Affleck bringing his personality and point-of-view to a role, whether in a story he stars in or directs. 

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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