After Daredevil Ben Affleck vowed never to play another superhero: Now the Argo director, dubbed 'Batfleck', is the new Batman

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A shock move by the ‘Argo’ star – who had sworn off playing superheroes – has sent social media into a spin

Arts Correspondent

Just months after Hollywood lauded Ben Affleck as a heavyweight actor-turned-director he surprised everyone by returning to comic book blockbusters, stepping into the recently vacated cowl of the Batman.

Warner Bros announced that the 41-year old, the toast of Tinseltown when he picked up the best film Oscar for Argo in February, would follow in the footsteps of Christian Bale and Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader in the forthcoming sequel to Man of Steel.

Greg Silverman, president of the studio, said: “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular superheroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill and then some.”

Affleck had described Argo, which he directed and starred in, as giving him a “second act” after a string of questionable big-budget films including comic-book turkey Daredevil. That movie, he said in 2006, had “inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero”.

The news, predictably, sent social media into a spin, while a poll on the website of industry bible Variety found that out of more than 75,000 voters, 77 per cent thought Affleck was the wrong choice.

Steve Walsh, bookseller at Gosh! Comics, said: “Every time a new Batman is announced, we are told it will be a nightmare and will destroy the franchise.

“I think Ben Affleck will be very good. He has the physicality to pull off the Batman stuff and playing charming playboy-tycoon Bruce Wayne won’t be a stretch.”

He pointed out there was huge outcry when Heath Ledger was unveiled as the Joker in The Dark Knight, while Keaton’s casting as Batman in 1989 prompted fans to burn their comics, “and he was great”.

It is a tough role. While the recent trilogy starring Christian Bale made billions of dollars for the studio, attempts to cast George Clooney and Val Kilmer in the role met with mixed reviews.

Warner Bros revealed at Comic-Con last month that Batman and Superman would appear together for the first time onscreen.

Man of Steel, itself a reboot of the Superman franchise starring Brit Henry Cavill in the title role, was a global box office success this summer, taking more than $650m.

The follow up does not have a title so far, but will again be directed by Zack Snyder, and star Cavill alongside Amy Adams.

Snyder said: “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne.”

Christopher Nolan, who successfully rebooted the Batman franchise with Bale as the lead, is an executive producer. The film starts shooting next year and will be released in cinemas in summer 2015.

Mr Walsh said: “Many people’s initial response was that Affleck shouldn’t be Batman because he was in a bad Daredevil film. That’s an odd idea, Daredevil was a very different role.”

Among the humorous responses were Chris Rock and Richard Dreyfuss who both lamented their missing out on the role, and even shadow chancellor Ed Balls who tweeted a picture of himself in a comedy Batman mask.

Affleck has played George Reeves in a biopic about the former Superman actor, and is a comic book fan. “He loves comics,” Mr Walsh said. “It will be interesting to see someone in the role who is, if not immersed in comics, he is certainly surrounded by them.”

If the Cape fits? If the Cape fits?

 

Caped crusaders: The men behind the mask

The first Batman

Lewis Wilson

Wilson was the first actor to play a live action Batman on screen in 1943. He was pitted against a Japanese spy called Dr Daka.

The camp Batman

Adam West

In bulging Lycra and with comic-book bubbles heralding his every punch, West’s classic TV series Batman, with Burt Ward as Robin, ran for 120 episodes between 1966 and 1968.

The left-field Batman

Michael Keaton

He was a surprise choice for Tim Burton’s gothic reinvention of the Caped Crusader but was well received. Came back for a sequel.

The marginalised Batman

Val Kilmer

The family-friendly version did well at the box office, but Kilmer did not return, feeling he had been marginalised.

The gay Batman

George Clooney

Clooney has revealed in interviews that he “could have played Batman straight, but I made him gay” for the 1997 Batman And Robin, which received a critical drubbing.

The blockbuster Batman

Christian Bale

As dark as the Dark Knight gets, in the most successful and acclaimed interpretation, taking more than $1bn.

Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk