The Affleck Dossier: A Comprehensive Look At What Led Up To His Departure As Director Of THE BATMAN (VIDEO)
For longtime LRM readers, last night's announcement that Ben Affleck was stepping down as director of The Batman was anything but a surprise. Hell, this story goes back to when we were still simply Latino-Review!
It all started when we reported one of our infamous HOT RUMORS on June 19, 2014. In that report, we shared with the world that we had confidential sources telling us that Affleck wasn't only signed up for acting duties when he signed on to join the DCEU (which was the big story at the time), we had it on good authority that he would also be directing a solo movie, and that it would be called The Batman. This was almost three years ago, when none of this was publicly known.
For whatever reason, Affleck and Warner Bros. refused to go public with what we reported until almost two years later! While we reported on June 23, 2015 (a year after the initial report) that Affleck directing The Batman was now a lock and no longer a whisper, Affleck didn't confirm that he'd be directing the film until April of 2016- in the wake of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice coming out and being met with a huge wave of criticism. Warner Bros. needed a positive story to take the sting off of the beating that film was taking from fans and critics alike, and it sure looked like they shoved Affleck out in front of a podium to cause a positive distraction.
So when it became official on April 13, 2016, us cool kids (which you're a part of just be visiting the site!) were all like "Duh," and the bigger story was, "What the hell took you so long to announce what we've been hearing for two freakin' years?!?!"
From there, it became this bizarre game of Bat & Mouse. We'd get one crumb of news about The Batman, then a week later it would get reversed- Usually by Affleck, himself. A few examples?
- Release Date: On a few occasions, reports hit the net that Warner Bros. was slotting The Batman for a particular date. Then Affleck would come out and say, "Nope! Not committing to any dates at all." This happened three or four times. Highly unusual.
- Filming Schedule: In recent months, various people involved with the project have made statements about The Batman filming this coming Spring. Affleck? His response was always a quick dose of "Not so fast! It ain't ready!" All righty then...
- Whether Or Not He's Directing It(!!!): On January 1st, we shared with you a scorching hot report that centered on new comments from Affleck stating his role as director for The Batman was "not a set thing," and declaring that the film- which was supposedly filming in three months- had "no script."
- The Title: Yes, he even waffled on the title. One week, there was a video (an actual VIDEO) of him saying that they're calling the film The Batman for now, but that it could change. Then a week later, we had Affleck saying that not only was he not sure what the film would called, but that "there is no Batman movie happening yet."
One key ingredient in all of this has been Affleck's increasing defensiveness when it came to this movie. In recent weeks, he's been very adamant about how tired he is about talking about The Batman.
Here within LRM, we've been remarking about what a ticking time bomb this situation has been. Our own Joseph "Jammer" Medina pointed something out to me that provides some definite food-for-thought. Allow me to paraphrase him:
Considering how important the quality of the movie is to him, with his endless comments regarding "not doing it until he knows it's going to be great," even going so far as to say he "won't do it" if it doesn't meet his standards...the fact that he's not doing it now is a tacit admission that he doesn't have faith in The Batman.
I hadn't thought of that until Jammer pointed it out a couple of weeks ago. But it's definitely an interesting point. He kind of backed himself into a corner with all of his comments, so it doesn't matter what the PR reason for his exit from the director's chair is; He's indirectly made a statement that "Guys, I wasn't able to get it where I wanted to get it. But Warner Bros. wants this movie, so I'm just going to step aside and let somebody else make it because I can't work like this."
As I've pointed out before, Affleck's career is at a crossroads. For the second time in his 20+ year relationship with Tinseltown, he's very close to pissing away all of his clout. With Live By Night bombing in every conceivable way, and with his destiny being fitted with a rubber cowl for the next two years, it's very likely that Affleck felt a lot of pressure to vacate the director's chair to make sure he doesn't end up with another Gigli-like collapse.
Truly fascinating stuff.
While I've worked links into this report, embedded into the text itself, here are a few additional links to some of the breadcrumbs that created the trail that brought us to yesterday, as well as some of the fun we've had analyzing things:
It's been a wild ride, hasn't it?
Personally, I'm saddened by this news as I consider myself an Affleck fan, and an ardent DC guy, so The Batman felt like something awesome to look forward to in the DCEU. Here's hoping they find an excelent replacement and give him (or her!) the time to get it right. And hey, at least he's still playing Batman.