While speculation has run rampant for over a year now about Ben Affleck maybe possibly directing a standalone Batman movie, things are finally coalescing as Affleck has indeed confirmed that he’ll be directing and starring in a new Batman pic called The Batman. While the filmmaker/writer/actor has been mighty busy shooting Justice League and completing post-production on his long-awaited directorial follow-up to Argo, the Prohibition-era crime drama Live by Night, he’s also been laying the groundwork for The Batman as it was recently revealed that not only will Deathstroke be Batman’s adversary in the new film, but Joe Manganiello will be bringing him to life.
Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently spoke with Affleck in anticipation of his staring role in the upcoming thriller The Accountant, and during the course of their conversation Steve asked Affleck what it was about Deathstroke that made him the right villain for his movie:
“He’s a great villain because—I just had an instinctive feeling that he would match up with him well. You know, I’m a big admirer of that character as well, especially in the New 52 the way that they did Deathstroke, and I thought that it could work.”
Deathstroke’s comics origins involve the character of Slade Wilson joining the Army as a teenager, going on to be trained in a number of forms of combat and eventually signing onto a secret experiment that enhances him with the physical powers that make him an unstoppable mercenary. In the New 52 version that Affleck mentions, however, the story picks up after Slade’s glory days, with an inciting event forcing him to don his suit once more and reclaim his legacy as the murderous mercenary.
That storyline certainly provides an interesting foil for Affleck’s Batman, who we also met in the back half of his career as a crime fighter. It also makes 39-year-old Joe Manganiello’s casting more suitable if they’re going this direction, offering up a dichotomy between two men who aren’t just starting out, but have seen some serious stuff along the way.
Affleck has reportedly been working on the script for The Batman alongside DC Comics CCO and DC Films head Geoff Johns, and while the film doesn’t yet have a release date, a tease of Deathstroke footage from the Justice League set hinted that we’ll get our first look at the character in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman follow-up, which hits theaters next November.
Look for Steve’s full interview with Affleck and Accountant director Gavin O’Connor on Collider soon.