Producer Charles Roven Says Ben Affleck Was the First Choice to Play Batman in BATMAN V SUPERMAN; Wanted Someone Who Could “Tower Over” Superman

     October 13, 2014

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Producer Charles Roven recently took part in an extended interview at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television, and his comments with regards to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are quite interesting.  We already shared what he had to say about Wonder Woman’s origin story earlier today, but more of the interview has now surfaced online, offering up even more revealing tidbits about director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel follow-up.  Roven says that Ben Affleck was the first actor they approached to play Batman in the pic, adding that they were looking for someone who could physically tower over Superman and play a “very, very, very rough” version of Batman.

Additionally, Roven talked a bit about Christopher Nolan’s involvement in Batman v Superman, saying he’s acting in an “advisory capacity” on the film.  Much more after the jump.

ben-affleck-batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justiceIn discussing the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman, Roven says (via THR) that the actor fit a very specific type they were looking for:

“He was the first guy we went to. That’s who we wanted. We knew that we wanted a very mature Batman, because we wanted to juxtapose him with this very young Superman. So we wanted a guy who was tougher, rugged, who had signs of life, who had lived a hard life, and we wanted the guy to have chops, for sure. So when we went down that list, there just weren’t a tremendous number of guys who could carry that.”

Affleck’s physicality was also a factor in the casting, as this iteration of Batman is envisioned as a formidable presence in relation to Superman:

“We also wanted a guy with big stature. Ben is 6′ 4″. Henry [Cavill] is 6’1″. We wanted Batman to tower over Superman. Not hugely, not like a basketball player. Superman needed to ‘look up’ to Batman. We wanted that dynamic, and Ben could do that, easily.”

It’s interesting that this version of Batman is crafted to be someone Superman will “look up to” in the film, and I’ll be curious to see just how much of their relationship is contentious before it no doubt turns into a mentor/mentee kind of thing.  It’s definitely disappointing that we didn’t get at least one more film to really flesh out Cavill’s Superman, but I’m hopeful that the dynamic in Batman v Superman will be compelling and, more importantly, serve to further develop these two characters.

batman-v-superman-henry-cavillWhile Roven said Affleck wasn’t hesitant about signing on, he did say that the actor wanted to ensure that Snyder’s take on the character would be different than what came before:

“No, I wouldn’t say he hesitated. I think that what he did do was that he made sure that he understood what Zack was looking for,” adding that Affleck wanted “to know exactly how Zack planned on treating this Bruce Wayne that was going to make him completely different even though he was still Bruce Wayne, still Batman.”

Indeed, I think the fact that Affleck’s Argo scribe Chris Terrio was subsequently brought on to handle scripting duties (taking over from a previous draft by David S. Goyer) signals that Affleck was very involved in the crafting of this new Batman.  What’s encouraging to me is that this sounds like it will be an interpretation unlike anything we’ve seen onscreen before. 

Roven also touched on Affleck’s iteration of Bruce Wayne:

“He’s much more of a social animal in the Bruce Wayne incarnation, but he’s also an extremely rough guy in the Batman incarnation — very, very, very rough.”

Christopher Nolan produced Man of Steel, and it’s no secret that that film came to fruition because Goyer (Nolan’s co-writer/producer on his Batman films) had an idea for a take on Superman that Nolan sparked to.  While Nolan was heavily involved in Man of Steel, he and his wife/producing partner Emma Thomas only have executive producer credits on BvS.  Roven admitted that Nolan and Thomas are much more focused on Interstellar than Batman v Superman at the moment, but did say that Nolan maintains an advisory role:

Nolan wasn’t entirely removed from the Batman v. Superman development, though, Roven said, explaining that the Inception director was “certainly involved in different stages. I would say he has an advisory capacity” and that he also was involved in the casting of Affleck as Batman.

While it sounds like Nolan checks in every once in a while, it’s clear that this is really Zack Snyder’s franchise now.  There’s a lot riding on how this one turns out, and I’m incredibly curious to see what the crew puts together.  Will Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice be an impressive start to a massive series of DC Comics adaptations for Warner Bros., or will the film be a disappointment?  We’ll find out on March 25, 2016.

Watch the video interview with Roven below.

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