Between 2016 and 2017, actor Ben Affleck took on the role of Batman for three live-action adventures: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), and Justice League (2017). The role was to continue beyond these three movies, with Affleck playing the Caped Crusader in a solo-Batman movie called The Batman.
As well as taking on the lead role, The Batman was originally set to be directed by Affleck. However, the actor/director dropped out of the project, paving the way for Matt Reeves to take over the director’s chair and Robert Pattinson to put on the Bat-suit.
But why did Ben Affleck leave the role of Batman?
Why did Ben Affleck quit being Batman?
Affleck’s departure from the role began when he decided to exit the director’s chair for The Batman. Speaking in January 2017 (via Variety), Affleck said: “There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require.
“Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”
Not long after issuing this statement, Matt Reeves joined the project as director of The Batman, with Affleck still on board to star. But a short time later, Affleck walked away from the role of the Dark Knight.
It was suggested at the time that the actor was unhappy with his experiences on Justice League, as well as the critical reception to Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, and therefore did not want to continue the role for a fourth film. But the actor’s departure was more to do with personal issues in his life, which he did not want to resurface during filming of The Batman.
In a candid interview with The New York Times. Affleck talked about some of the personal problems he was facing during 2015 and 2016 – a point in time when his Batman movies were in production. He said: “I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
Affleck’s experiences ultimately led to him hanging up the cape and cowl, rather than pressing forward with The Batman. After showing a friend The Batman script Affleck said: “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 through again.’”
A fear of moving backwards to unhappier times was something that Affleck did not want to risk, so ultimately, he opted to pass on the movie.
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