After weeks of supersonic speculation movie studios have confirmed that Ben Affleck will don Batman’s cape in a forthcoming Superman sequel set to bring both of DC Comic’s best-known heroes together for the first time.
Affleck, 41, who won multiple awards as the director of Iran hostage crisis film Argo earlier this year, will appear alongside British actor Henry Cavill, star of Superman reboot Man Of Steel, in the as yet unnamed Superman/Batman tie up.
"We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics' most enduringly popular super heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill and then some," Warner Bros President Greg Silverman said in a statement.
Man Of Steel director Zack Snyder announced the impending superhero collaboration (rumoured to be called Superman vs Batman) at the Comic Con convention in San Diego last month.
“Let’s face it, it’s beyond mythological to have Superman and our new Batman facing off, since they are the greatest superheroes in the world,” Snyder said.
Casting notes seen by the Hollywood Reporter last month state that Batman needs to look “established and rugged”.
But Affleck’s name has not been prominent on a rumoured shortlist of Batman contenders that has included Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Joe Manganiello.
Christian Bale, who played the Gotham City crime-fighter in Christopher Nolan’s recent Dark Knight trilogy, has said he does not intend to do it again.
Snyder said in a statement that Affleck will provide an “interesting counter-balance” to Cavill’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,” Snyder said. “I can't wait to work with him."
Snyder said he won’t be drawing from the Dark Knight series. “I’ve pored through the DC universe for a way to tell this thing,” he said.
Production is expected to begin in 2014 and the film is chalked up for release in July 2015.
It will also reunite Man of Steel stars Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent.
The commercial potential of uniting well-loved comic book heroes has already been proven at the box office with the success of The Avengers which took $1.5 billion worldwide.
Man of Steel grossed more than $649 million at the box office.
Affleck, who won a best picture Oscar and a directing Golden Globe for Argo, has a longstanding relationship with Warner Bros. The studio released Argo and is also behind his next directorial effort, Live By Night.
As an actor Affleck has recently been cast in David Fincher's adaptation of best-selling novel Gone Girl. He will be seen next in Brad Furman's Runner Runner.
Although he has a reputation as a more serious actor this will not be Affleck's first superhero role following his turn as Daredevil a decade ago.
His predecessors as the caped crusader include Christian Bale (The Dark Knight trilogy) Michael Keaton (Batman, Batman Returns), Val Kilmer (Batman Forever) and George Clooney (Batman & Robin).