When Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker in The Dark Knight, a slew of fans immediately began to voice their despair. No one thought that some young, Australian pretty boy could possibly portray the Clown Prince of Crime with the appropriate mixture of zaniness and cruelty. But when the movie was released, he turned out to be the epitome of chaos. We were proven wrong, and Ledger received a posthumous Oscar for one of the best portrayals of a comic book villain to date.
According to Ben Affleck, the people who have criticized Jesse Eisenberg’s casting as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are about to eat crow in a very similar manner.
Batfleck sat down with French movie magazine Studio Ciné Live for an extensive interview, during which he had this to say:
“Between the character that was written by Chris Terrio and Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal, it’s the meeting of two great minds, on the same wavelength. Luthor is, for me, the most interesting character in the film. He’s radically different from what we’ve seen so far. He’s grounded in reality, and he’s extraordinary. This type of film is only as good as its villain. That’s why The Dark Knight was so brilliant, because of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Jesse improves the film with each scene he’s in. He’s not your usual one-dimensional villain, there’s a whole psychology behind him.”
This actually makes quite a bit of sense. We saw Eisenberg’s ability to portray a sense of emotional detachment when he rose to stardom through his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Perhaps his portrayal wasn’t too realistic, but he showed that he wasn’t afraid to make the character his own. In the trailer for Dawn of Justice, Eisenberg portrays Luthor as a man who wears a very different face in public than he does behind closed doors.
Also, while everybody seems to be worried about Doomsday, Affleck implies that Luthor will be the true main villain of this piece. As for what this means for the film’s plot, we can only guess.
His reference to Ledger’s Joker was not the only thing Affleck had to say about the Nolanverse. He was also asked about whether or not he had studied Christian Bale’s performance in preparation to play Batman. As far as Affleck is concerned, there was no need.
“I don’t want to compete with other incarnations, nor do I want to emulate them. Those versions belong in another universe. Christopher Nolan used his Batman to tell a finite story. My version is different, but remains faithful to the Batman mythology and all the themes associated with it. The other difference is that Nolan’s Batman isn’t part of a universe where other superheroes exist as well. Here—because we’re working toward the Justice League—there’s Superman, and it’s a world populated with super beings. This situation generated an altogether new reality.”
For anyone who wondered whether we’ll get to see a fair amount of Bruce Wayne, Affleck speaks to that as well.
“We also play a bit more with the billionaire playboy side of the character. He lives life at full tilt. He courts many women, owns many cars, and parties a lot. He does that as a way to fill the void in his soul. Moreover, past incarnations dealt with a straightforward search for justice. This time, Batman’s reasoning is clouded by frustration, bitterness and anger.”
Not only will we be seeing more of Bruce Wayne the billionaire playboy, but we’ll also be seeing Clark Kent working at the Daily Planet for the first time in the DCEU. He didn’t land the job until the very end of Man of Steel, but the trailer reveals that he’s doing his best to lambaste Batman in the press. Cavill, in an interview with the same magazine, says that the exploration of Kent’s human side will be a primary theme in the film.
“Comparisons with Christopher Reeve’s clumsy Clark Kent are inevitable. My Clark Kent is trying to be as small and invisible as possible. If you’re awkward and spilling things constantly, people are going to notice you, and that’s not the best way to go unseen. You have to admit, it’s not a remarkable disguise, just a pair of glasses. He’d like to think that no one will believe he could be Superman. How could such a delicate flower be a living god? Preposterous.”
He also says that his suit in Batman v Superman is a bit different, even though it looks pretty similar to the Man of Steel version. And given that it was sent to him from a dead planet and appears to be made of virtually indestructible material, it makes sense that it wouldn’t change too much. In fact, Cavill says that the main change to the suit is really more of an off-set thing.
“It’s easier to take it off when I have to relieve myself! Suddenly my life is much less complicated.”
That actually raises an interesting question. If we’re going to be seeing the classic Kent who wears his suit under his civilian clothes at all times, how the heck does he navigate a urinal?
In any case, these interviews tell us a lot about the themes that will be explored in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It appears that Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Lex Luthor are all men who feel as if they have to wear masks in daily life. They all have very different reasons for doing so, but it’s an interesting similarity. This is starting to sound like a much more character-driven movie than the brawl-fest it once appeared to be.
We still don’t know much about Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and whether or not we’ll get to see much of her as Diana Prince. It’s likely that her character exploration won’t be quite as deep as that of the other characters. Still, the cover of the magazine gives us a nice new image of the Trinity, with Wonder Woman as the focal point. And while I praised her recent character poster for its lack of overt sexuality, I have to admit that it’s pretty hard to look away from her legs in this one.
Batman looks a little funny in his obviously padded suit, but it’s still a nice image. This cover isn’t too different from some images we’ve seen before, but any new image we get of DC’s Trinity is still a welcome gift.
There’s a lot to mull over here, but the biggest thing to take away is that we still don’t technically know what role Lex will be playing in the film. He appears to be responsible for Doomsday, and he will definitely be fighting to end the new reign of Superman. But Affleck seems to be implying that Lex Luthor has a few tricks up his sleeve in this film, and his overall plan seems to include some sort of mind games. From the opening scene in the trailer, I have to wonder if he won’t somehow be at least partially responsible for pitting Bats and Supes against each other. At the very least, he’ll still be pulling something a little more exciting than the lame real estate schemes we’ve seen in previous films.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will hit theaters on March 25, 2016.