Say the word “Batfleck” to Ben Affleck and it turns out he’ll laugh.
Toward the end of a wide-ranging conversation with EW about his starring role in Gone Girl—director David Fincher’s adaptation of the bestselling 2012 crime thriller that’s spotlighted in an exclusive cover story in this week’s issue—Affleck opened up about another project that Twitter has been chattering about ever since his involvement with it was announced last August: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The Oscar-winning director-star has both a sense of perspective and humor about the most recent meme to hybridize his name.
Briefly on hiatus from filming the mega-budget superhero action flick in Detroit to attend San Diego’s Comic-Con International—where Affleck stunned the crowd, appearing alongside co-star Henry Cavill and director Zack Snyder to debut footage from Batman v. Superman but giving no interviews—Affleck appeared to have packed on pounds of muscle in the service of portraying a decidedly un-Bale-like kind of Batman/Bruce Wayne. That is, one in his mid-forties, his hair flecked with grey.
He remained tight-lipped about the particulars of the 3D follow-up to Snyder’s Man of Steel that’s set to reach theaters in March 2016, part of a DC cinematic universe that will also eventually include a Justice League movie. But for the first time, Affleck addressed certain issues—in particular, the fan freak-out surrounding his casting— about which he’s until now remained resolutely silent.
EW: So what it’s like to portray Batman?
BEN AFFLECK: I’m right in the middle of shooting now. It’s a process that I’ll probably have better perspective on when I’m done. I can tell you that every time I do a role, it’s the responsibility of an actor to get their physical self as close to the role as possible. And Batman’s obviously got a set of expectations that are tough. So I spent a lot of time working out. And it’s a far cry from Gone Girl where my character is described as “puffy and hungover.” I want you to know I worked equally hard at both! [laughs]
It feels slightly ridiculous using the word “outcry” describing your casting. But there was actual outcry—a lot of people freaked when they heard about Batfleck. To what extent did all that get under your skin?
Before I took the role, Warner Bros. gave me a bunch of past reactions to casting and said, “Are you sure you want to get into this? This is part and parcel of these movies now. There’s a lot of active fans with a lot of opinions.” To me, having been through a certain amount of that, it doesn’t really… Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I wouldn’t have taken the part if I didn’t trust my instincts in terms of the filmmaking. I think Chris Terrio wrote a terrific script. Zack’s a great visual director. And there’s an interesting take. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think I could do it. I have the benefit of a lot of that understanding. But also, everyone is entitled to their opinion. That’s a big part of this international sport. The Fifty Shades of Grey kid or whatever it is. That’s sort of become a thing.
Fans feel like their vote counts.
You know what? It’s great that people do care that much. They want to see the movie that much. And it is incumbent on you to honor the story. There are the Greek myths and these are the American myths. The American myths are these superheroes. People care about ‘em a lot. And it’s incumbent on you to do a good job and make it as excellent as you possibly can. At the end of the day, the movie’s all that matters.