Ben Affleck Has Opened Up About The Real Reason He Decided Not To Direct ‘The Batman’

Ben Affleck’s gearing up for the March 6 release of The Way Back, in which he plays an alcoholic high-school basketball coach. As a result, he’s getting candid with the New York Times about why he walked away from The Batman (now shooting with Robert Pattinson in the starring role and directed by Matt Reeves) after portraying the caped crusader in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, and (very briefly) Suicide Squad. Reportedly, he was also going to star in an installment set in Arkham Asylum, but obviously, Warner Bros. (apparently as part of the DCEU, though that language is still a little up in the air) switched course for a story about the earlier Bruce Wayne, and as everyone knows by know, Pattinson has donned the Batsuit.

Affleck was attached to direct at one point, and he previously gave a different reason for choosing not to do so (I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter but just couldn’t come up with a version — I couldn’t crack it and so I thought it’s time for someone else to take a shot at it”), but he’s now discussing the real reason for departing the project. A person close to him believed the project would lead to worsening stress and alcohol abuse:

“I showed somebody The Batman script. 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 though again … I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart.”

In addition, the Oscar-winning director and screenplay writer alludes to a “troubled shoot” on Justice League, and he appears to have no regrets about stepping away from the cowl, whether that’s in front of the camera or not. He’s undergone alcohol treatment, and he further elaborated on why he needed to distance himself from any situation that could tempt him down that path again:

“You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”

The entire profile is worth a read, and Affleck also touches upon why he initially claimed (to Extra) that his massive back tattoo was fake and only a movie prop. He explained that he resented the paparazzi spying on him, so “I guess I got a kick out of messing with Extra.” Can you blame the guy for doing so? Nope. He then confirms that yes, that massive phoenix tat is realer than real. Read the full piece here.

(Via New York Times)