Ben Affleck will reprise his portrayal of Batman for the upcoming big-screen version of The Flash, due in cinemas in 2022.
The Flash will star Ezra Miller as the faster-than-the-speed-of-light eponymous superhero and his alter-ego Barry Allen, who crashes between parallel dimensions and encounters slightly different versions of DC Extended Universe characters, which is where both Affleck and Keaton come in.
They will join Gal Gadot, who is rumoured to make an appearance as an alternate version of Wonder Woman, and Billy Crudup returning as Barry’s father Henry.
The Flash director Andy Muschietti told Vanity Fair that the multiverse approach made this movie “a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we’ve seen before are valid. It’s inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you’ve seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse.”
Affleck’s Batman has been been a divisive portrayal after he appeared in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League (2017) and a cameo in Suicide Squad. Some fans never accepted him in the role and panned the movies, while others considered him underrated.
Muschietti said: “His Batman has a dichotomy that is very strong, which is his masculinity – because of the way he looks, and the imposing figure that he has, and his jawline – but he’s also very vulnerable.”
Affleck’s Batman would add emotional heft to The Flash, said Andy. “It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in.”
Affleck got the script for The Flash last week and quickly decided to take the role, according to Vanity Fair.
He had actually agreed to star in and direct The Batman (now filming with Robert Pattinson in Hertfordshire), bu t left the role saying that the demands were taking too heavy a toll on him. He was struggling with alcoholism and the break-up of his marriage to Jennifer Garner at the time.
The Flash producer Barbara Muschietti gave some personal background for Affleck’s volte-face and why he walked away from Batman.
“I think it was more about a difficult time in his life,” she said. “When we approached him, he’s now in a very different time in his life. He was very open to it, which was a bit of a surprise to us. It was a question mark.”
Barbara added that we all go through “great times in our lives and terrible times in our lives… Right now he’s in a place where he can actually enjoy being Batman.”
Another attractive element is that he doesn’t have to carry the entire movie. “It’s a pivotal role, but at the same time it’s a fun part.”
Keaton, meanwhile, would recreate his Batman from the 1989 Tim Burton movie, a “substantial” part, according to Andy, and one of a number of the alternate-dimension heroes who would feature and who we’ve seen before.
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