Ben Affleck was always the first choice and the first person approached to play Batman in Zack Snyder‘s upcoming superhero smackdown Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, producer Charles Roven told The Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Galloway in his The Hollywood Masters series.
“He was the first guy we went to. That’s who we wanted,” said Roven, adding that Affleck had everything they were looking for in this new incarnation of both Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alter ego, Batman. “We knew that we wanted a very mature Batman, because we wanted to juxtapose him with this very young Superman. So we wanted a guy who was tougher, rugged, who had signs of life, who had lived a hard life, and we wanted the guy to have chops, for sure. So when we went down that list, there just weren’t a tremendous number of guys who could carry that.”
Roven added that Affleck’s height was also a factor.
“We also wanted a guy with big stature. Ben is 6′ 4”. Henry [Cavill] is 6’1″. We wanted Batman to tower over Superman. Not hugely, not like a basketball player. Superman needed to ‘look up’ to Batman. We wanted that dynamic, and Ben could do that, easily,” he said.
Roven spoke to students at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. Others who have taken part in the Hollywood Masters series include James L. Brooks, Alfonso Cuaron, David O. Russell, Judd Apatow, John Singleton, Alan Horn, William Friedkin and Sherry Lansing.
Roven said: “[Nolan] is an executive producer on the movie, as is Emma Thomas, his wife. And I would say that he’s much more focused on the movie Interstellar, writing, directing. He co-wrote it with his brother. … They were off doing that movie.”
Nolan wasn’t entirely removed from the Batman v. Superman development, though, Roven said, explaining that the Inception director was “certainly involved in different stages. I would say he has an advisory capacity” and that he also was involved in the casting of Affleck as Batman.
Pressed more on the casting decision, Roven said that it was probably director Zack Snyder who first reached out to Affleck. “We have a very strong relationship with Warner Bros. obviously; all of the DC comics are at Warner Bros. Ben had literally just won the Oscar for Argo, which was a Warner Bros. movie, so it wasn’t like it was difficult to reach him,” he explained.
In response to the question of whether Affleck hesitated on taking the role, Roven said: “No, I wouldn’t say he hesitated. I think that what he did do was that he made sure that he understood what Zack was looking for,” adding that Affleck wanted “to know exactly how Zack planned on treating this Bruce Wayne that was going to make him completely different even though he was still Bruce Wayne, still Batman.”
Roven went on to elaborate about how the latest iterations of Bruce Wayne and Batman will be “completely different.”
“He’s much more of a social animal in the Bruce Wayne incarnation, but he’s also an extremely rough guy in the Batman incarnation — very, very, very rough,” Roven said.
Watch Roven and Galloway’s full Batman v. Superman discussion above.