Ben Affleck Unpacks Why He Didn’t Direct ‘The Batman’: ‘The Person Who Does This Should Love It’

Ben Affleck has held no shortage of recognizable roles over the years, but his stint as the DC Extended Universe’s Batman is one of his biggest recent performances. Sadly, fans won’t see him portray Gotham’s caped crusader again. He even turned down the chance to sit in the director’s seat for The Batman. In a recent interview, he unpacked why.

Ben Affleck bid farewell to his time as Batman

When it comes to playing Batman in the DCEU, Ben Affleck has been vocal about his choice to step away from the role. The actor recently revealed that working on Justice League proved a negative experience for him.

He also told The Hollywood Reporter that his time playing Gotham’s hero ultimately led to drinking problems:

“I started drinking too much around the time of Justice League, and it’s a hard thing to confront and face and deal with. I’ve been sober for a while now, and I feel really good — as healthy and good as I’ve ever felt. And the process of recovering from alcoholism has been really instructive.”

During a 2020 interview with The New York Times, the actor admitted that addiction contributed to his decision to turn down the lead role in The Batman.

“I showed somebody The Batman script,” Affleck recalled. “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.’”

As it turns out, Affleck didn’t just turn down the starring role in The Batman either. He also had the opportunity to direct the upcoming film. However, he decided not to for a very thoughtful reason.

Why the actor turned down the chance to direct ‘The Batman’

Ben Affleck wearing a black suit with a black bow tie. He's standing in front of a pink wall and smiling.
Ben Affleck | Franco Origlia/Getty Images

That’s right, Ben Affleck could have directed The Batman but he passed on the opportunity. During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he explained that he’s focusing on gigs that make him happy — and that his decision is in his own best interests and the best interests of the fanbase:

“Directing [The] Batman is a good example. I looked at it and thought, ‘I’m not going to be happy doing this. The person who does this should love it.’ You’re supposed to always want these things, and I probably would have loved doing it at 32 or something. But it was the point where I started to realize it’s not worth it.

It’s definitely true that adaptations benefit from directors who appreciate the source material. And Matt Reeves has showcased that kind of passion for the DC property. Affleck will no doubt be missed, but it seems he’s happy with his decisions about The Batman. And he’s already got several other projects underway.

What is Ben Affleck doing now that he’s done with the DCEU?

So, what has Ben Affleck been up to since stepping away from Batman? The actor recently starred in Ridley Scott’s 2021 release The Last Duel, bringing Pierre d’Alençon to life. He also played Uncle Charlie in The Tender Bar.

Additionally, IMDb has Affleck listed as a producer and actor on several films in various stages of production. All of them are likely to come out over the next few years, so moviegoers will still get their fill of the Justice League star, even if it’s not as Batman.

Of course, Affleck will also reprise the role of Bruce Wayne one last time before his time as Batman is truly over. Fans will get to bid farewell to the actor’s iteration of the character in the upcoming The Flash movie. That should give them some closure — as should Robert Pattinson’s debut as the beloved DC hero.

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