For the first time since he gave up playing Batman, Ben Affleck has addressed the personal demons that drove him from the role…
Ben Affleck had plans to write, direct and star in his own solo Batman film but turmoil in his personal life ultimately led to him leaving the role behind for good.
The Oscar winner first joined the DC Universe as Batman back in 2013 in anticipation of Zack Snyder’s upcoming film “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which was Warner Bros. answer to the ongoing shared universe at Marvel Studios. After Snyder directed “Man of Steel,” he then decided to introduce a new actor as Batman to go opposite Henry Cavill as Superman in the film.
Affleck starred in “Batman V. Superman” and then made a cameo appearance in “Suicide Squad” before then taking on the “Justice League” movie, which was expected to be the first of two films in the series. Unfortunately, “Justice League” faced a harsh reaction from critics and audiences alike and the film made just over $657 million at the box office — a paltry number compared to most big budget superhero movies.
Despite “Justice League” failing to capture the attention of audiences, Affleck signed onto write, direct and star in his own solo “Batman” film but it didn’t take long for rumors to begin swirling that problems existed with the project. Eventually, AFfleck handed off directing duties to Matt Reeves and then his script was scrapped entirely.
Finally, Affleck decided to leave the role of Batman all together but it turns out the struggles playing the part were an extension of a troubling personal life that included an addiction to alcohol as well as problems in his marriage to actress Jennifer Garner.
“I drank relatively normally for a long time,” Affleck explained when speaking to the New York Times. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
Obviously that timeline in 2015 and 2016 was during the production on both “Batman V. Superman” and “Justice League.”
According to Affleck, he was proud of the work he accomplished when writing his own follow up in a solo Batman film but that’s when a close friend gave him some harsh advice that forced him to take a second look at moving forward with the role.
“I showed somebody ‘The Batman’ script,” Affleck stated. “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.’”
Since that time, Affleck has sought treatment, which due to his celebrity status has been followed relentlessly by paparazzi just desperate to see if he falls off the wagon again. Still, the 47-year-old actor is taking personal responsibility for his shortcomings and mistakes, particularly when it comes to his admission that he is in fact an alcoholic.
“It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” Affleck said. “The next drink will not be different.”
The good news is Affleck is focused more than ever on his career with a leading role in the upcoming film “The Way Back,” which features a down-on-his-luck former high school basketball start tortured by personal problems, who eventually returns to his old stomping ground to take over the hoops program. Obviously it was a relatable story for Affleck following his very public battle with alcoholism as well as his breakup with Garner.
Director Gavin O’Connor later revealed that following a particularly emotional scene where Affleck’s character confronts the mistakes he’s made with his ex-wife, the actor finally gave into an emotional outburst that tore through him like a hurricane.
“It was like a floodgate opened up,” O’Connor said. “It was startling and powerful. I think that was a very personal moment in the movie. I think that was him.”
“The Way Back” lands in theaters on March 6 while Reeves’ version of “The Batman” is currently in production with Robert Pattinson in the lead role with that film’s release date on June 25, 2021.