Zack Snyder Talks Ben Affleck, 'The Dark Knight Returns,' and Wonder Woman

– by Joseph Medina

We're only a few short weeks away from the release of BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. It's been a long time in the making, but after nearly three years of waiting, we finally have the follow up to MAN OF STEEL, but more importantly, we have the film that officially kicks off the DC Extended Universe.

Of course, in standard fashion, as we approach the release date of the film, all the in-depth information slowly comes to light. This is no exception, and in a recent interview with Film Ink, director Zack Snyder gives readers a bit of extra insight into how they approached making the film, and the relationships between him and others who worked on the picture. While there aren't any huge breaking news pieces, it's still an interesting read if you're interested in the process.

First, Zack Snyder explained what he wanted to see out of his version of Batman.

“I really wanted an old Batman – not, like, decrepit! I wanted a world weary Batman… someone who has had experiences, and Ben has really hit that. He’s a movie star now in the greatest definition of the word. He has gravitas. We’ve greyed his hair a little, and we’ve made him look a bit rough and rugged, in a good way. He’s a great actor, and he’s a big person. He’s 6’4”, and in the boots, he’s 6’6”. I don’t like a small Batman…I like my Batmen bigger!”
This version of Batman is BIG.

This version of Batman is BIG.

One of the big questions fans have had has to do with the relationship between Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder on set. After all, Affleck is the man who directed the Best Picture-winning film, ARGO, so one has to expect that Affleck was there to give Snyder some tips while on set. Interestingly enough, that doesn't appear to be the case, according to Snyder.

“He was amazingly kind with me and generous. He was like, ‘Yes sir, boss, what do you need?’ He would be like, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing here, sir, just tell me that to do.’ And I couldn’t be more grateful to his generosity and his work ethic. He just worked, and it was gruelling, I’ll be honest. That costume isn’t easy to wear. And it’s raining and it’s cold and it’s Detroit and you’re out for hours. We were turning the rain on him, and he’s like, ‘Arrrggh…’ There’s nothing glamourous about shooting a movie, especially a superhero movie. The suits are no good!”

Without a doubt, a huge inspiration for the film is Frank Miller's graphic novel THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. That much is obvious by virtue of the fact that Batman is wearing the same Superman-busting armor. But while the film may take some elements from the comic, it is still its own beast.

“I’m a huge fan of The Dark Knight Returns, but this movie is not The Dark Knight Returns. Frank and I share a lot of aesthetic interest, and certainly his portrayal of an old Batman in that novel inspired me, because it rings true. That’s how I approached it, through that prism of what meets my standard of cool superhero.”
While Batman's armor is definitely inspired by THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, the film is not a total retread.

While Batman's armor is definitely inspired by THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, the film is not a total retread.

While many doubted Snyder's ability to take on a project like this, there were many who were calmed by the fact that Chris Terrio, the man behind the Oscar-winning ARGO script was hired to tackle the script for BATMAN v SUPERMAN. Snyder went on to explain the dynamic betwen him and Terrio.

“Chris is amazing, and Chris and I did have an amazing collaboration. Chris is super smart, and he does his research. He knows what’s going on….but he’s not a total dork! Well, maybe academically he’s a little bit of a dork. But he’s read all the books, and he’s got more dogma now than I do because he’s done all this research. Now I’ll say, ‘Let’s not do this’ and he’ll be like, ‘But in such and such comic book, they did that.’ And I said, ‘Chris, what happened to you?!’ In the beginning, he was like, ‘Screw those comic books! We’ll make it awesome, and more literary.’ Anyway, it’s great. Chris, in the end, wants it to mean something, and he wants it to be about something. It’s amazing having these three titans of pop culture…I mean, it’s just the craziest IP that you can imagine! Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman! And we’re actually manipulating and having fun with their stories! It’s an amazing opportunity.”

In addition to having Batman and Superman in the film, BATMAN v SUPERMAN is notable in that it kicks off the whole DCEU, and one of the major ways it does that is through the inclusion of Wonder Woman.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to have Wonder Woman in the film. We haven’t had a female superhero of that magnitude, and it’s an amazing opportunity for the world to get behind an amazing, powerful female character. I’m happy that we have the opportunity to do that. Half of my movies have female leads…maybe that’s because I have so many strong women in my life. I’m not in the least surprised by a strong female superhero. I’m shocked that it hasn’t happened sooner. By the way, I highly recommend Jill Lepore’s book, The Secret History Of Wonder Woman, if you haven’t read it; it’s amazing, and truly epic.”

Considering Wonder Woman is easily the most iconic female superhero, casting the right woman for the job was no short order.

“We tested a bunch of actresses, as you can imagine. But the thing with Gal is that she’s strong, she’s beautiful, and she’s a kind person, which is interesting, but fierce at the same time. It’s that combination of being fierce but kind at the same time that we were looking for. She can get serious, but she’s amazingly fun to be around.  And by the way, she really held her own with Ben in the screen test. Ben was like, ‘Whoa, that girl is something else!’ That was a good sign, because Ben is very tough in the scene, and he’s big and commanding. Anytime that you’re doing a test like that and you’re looking at the other person, you’re thinking, ‘Okay, that’s good stuff.’ That was part of the process, and over time as we got to know Gal, we found out how amazing she is.”
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman.

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman.

Lex Luthor has been quite the sticking point for fans. Simply put, he's not the Lex we all know from the comics, and many speculated that the character was originally supposed to be older before Eisenberg was cast. Snyder denies that claim, though the role did end up getting tailored more and more to fit Eisenberg himself.

“I don’t know where you heard that. When we wrote the script with Lex in it, we invented this version of Lex. We never had an older version of Lex in our movie. We talked about it, sure. I met with Jesse for another part, and after he left, I was like, ‘Oh man, he was awesome…he could play Lex!’ It was very easy for Chris Terrio to channel Jesse because they’re very similar people in the best kind of way. They have similar points of view on a lot of things. They’re intellectual types. The careful construction of that character came right out of Chris. And, it was Chris and Jesse from the beginning, you know? The part was custom made for Jesse, and Chris did an amazing job creating it. When Lex Luthor confronts Superman and they talk about the why of it, it’s a crushingly cool point of view.”

BATMAN v SUPERMAN hits theaters on March 25, 2016.

SOURCE: Film Ink

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