Me, Kevin Smith, and our mutual friend Bob are partying here at the Vega Baja office of Unleash The Fanboy, celebrating Ben Affleck’s coronation as the new Batman in Batman Vs Superman, but it seems like we’re the only happy ones in this whole ordeal. A few thousand pissed off fanboys have already decried Zack Snyder’s selection as one of the greatest miscastings in superhero movie history, as I’ve recently discovered after wandering around Facebook and Reddit while doing the twosie. If only they could recollect the backlash to Heath Ledger’s casting… that kinda turned out awesome, didn’t it?
Well, here’s a bit more salt for those geeky wounds. According to a few friendly sources at the WB, Ryan Gosling was heavily considered for the role of Batman, but the Studios’ insistence on multiple sequels dissuaded the thespian.
Gosling as Batman. That almost happened.
Now, all juvenile jokes aside, I’ll admit that Ryan Gosling is a superior choice. His recent string of films lend themselves to a breakout Bruce Wayne performance, but he’s probably best served in those unique flicks, and not an entire franchise dedicated to “popcorn theatre”. Although, I not-so-secretly wish that Gosling would abandon his ‘no sequels’ mantra when J. J. Abrams comes a’ knocking for Star Wars Episode 7. He’d be a perfect fit for the Skywalker clan; an older brother to a young breed of Jedi.
Concerning Affleck and Gosling as Batman, here’s the full breakdown from our friends at THR:
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the process began earlier this year when director Zack Snyder had finished working on Man of Steel with producer Christopher Nolan. Snyder and the studio already had ideas for a follow-up, and Snyder reached out to Affleck to check the star’s interest.
It’s unclear when these talks began. Multiple sources say the studio approached Josh Brolin, as well as other actors. Ryan Gosling was also a possibility, but the actor dislikes the idea of sequels.
But Affleck was curious, and initial talks focusing on story and character began. Once Affleck was satisfied, WME’s Patrick Whitesell and Ziffren Brittenham’s Sam Fischer began negotiating his role in the Superman sequel. Sources say that Affleck has been signed for multiple other movies. The talks were so secretive that many Warner execs and most WME agents remained unaware of their existence.
On one level, Affleck’s return to superheroes seems bewildering. The Oscar-winning co-writer of Good Will Hunting drew scorn after donning the red suit for Daredevil, and later agreed it wasn’t his best work. After he’d recovered and turned in a bravura performance directing and starring in The Town, Fox offered him the chance to direct and star in a Daredevil reboot — but Affleck turned it down.
More recently, Nolan offered Affleck the chance to direct Man of Steel. Affleck declined, seemingly because of a desire not to return to the world of capes — despite being an avowed comic book fan.
Because since it’s considered a sequel to Man of Steel and not a Batman movie, any potential underperformance issues won’t ultimately land on his shoulders.
The deal also potentially lines Affleck up to star in and direct Warner Bros.’ answer to The Avengers: The eventual Justice League movie.