Back in July, a mighty curious piece of potential news emerged. It was reported that, following his turn as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, actor Ben Affleck was gearing up to direct and co-write a standalone Batman movie for Warner Bros. Most expected this news to be confirmed by Warner Bros. at Comic-Con a few weeks later, but the WB presentation came and went without a single mention of a potential new Batman movie. In fact, we’ve heard pretty much nothing about the project since that initial report—until today, that is.
In a new interview with Total Film magazine (via Latino Review), which also reveals Batman v Superman‘s opening scene, Affleck confirms that he’s considering directing a Batman movie, but cautions it all depends on finding a story worth telling:
“If I could make it work, yeah. Obviously that would be like a dream. The trick is, as to any movie, is to make sure that you – if you’re going to direct it – that you can make it good. You’ve got to have the right idea and the right take on it… Broadly speaking, it’s something I’d be open to, for sure. It’s a very exciting idea.”
Indeed, Batman v Superman, Man of Steel, and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy producer Charles Roven echoes Affleck’s comments, adding that timing is also an issue:
“He’s about to start a movie now, and he’s also got obligations to be in the Justice League movies. The calendar is a little bit tricky. Of course, the script obviously has to be worthy of him wanting to direct it. And once that happens, it’s still got to fit into the calendar. We’re hoping we can make it happen. We’re just at the beginning of the question.”
That movie that Affleck’s about to start is the period crime drama Live by Night, which was set up as his post-Argo directing project until Gone Girl and Batman v Superman pushed it back considerably. Warner Bros. has finally given Live by Night a greenlight and a broad 2017 release date, and it is intended to be Affleck’s next film. But of course, he also has Justice League Part One, which begins filming next spring/early summer, and then Justice League Part Two, which presumably shoots sometime in 2017.
It’s possible, if a worthwhile story is developed, that Affleck could slot a Batman movie to shoot after Justice League Part One, but he’s going to be mighty busy juggling production and post-production on Live by Night at the same time he’s shooting Justice League Part One, then possibly (probably) an awards campaign for Live by Night in Fall 2017, so it’s going to be quite the delicate balance.
When it was initially reported that Affleck would be co-writing and directing a Batman movie, DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns was reported as his screenwriting collaborator. One imagines he’s working closely with Johns, Zack Snyder, and other members of the WB DC Braintrust to hammer out a story worth telling, and judging by his comments here, he seems eager to tackle a superhero film of his own as a director. It’d be a coup both for Warner Bros. (to nab an acclaimed filmmaker for one of its standalone films) and for Affleck, who would get to stretch his directorial chops on a project wildly different than anything he’s done before. If it happens, I’ll be thrilled to see what he puts together. For now, I’m just glad Live by Night is finally being made.