The development of 2017 (and later 2021’s) Justice League is one of the most well-documented messes of a film in recent history, and its stars are still feeling its impact years later. Ray Fisher’s spoken about his time working on the film the most, but this weekend, it’s Ben Affleck in the spotlight for his words on the troubled film.
Affleck, speaking to the LA Times, was asked about his short-lived rocky time as Batman that began with 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. At the time, the 49-year-old actor was reported to also be headlining, writing, and directing a solo Batman movie that would eventually become The Batman. But it was his alcohol addiction and the realisation of where his life was going that made him drop out to seek treatment. “I looked at it [Batman] and thought, ‘I’m not gonna be happy doing this. The person who does this should love it,’” Affleck recalled. “I probably would have loved doing it at 32 or something. But it was the point where I started to realise it’s not worth it.”
Speaking rather candidly, the actor continued to talk about how Justice League in particular was what he considered “the nadir” of his career. With everything going on at the time — his divorce, the “competing agendas” at Warner Bros., and the death of director Zack Snyder’s daughter Autumn — working on the film was just torture. Describing it as “everything that I didn’t like about this,” he knew that was the moment where he had to leave Batman entirely, but also added that at that point in his life, anything could’ve set him off. “It’s not even about, like, Justice League was so bad. Because it could have been anything. Bleak as it sounds for Affleck, there is somewhat of a happy ending here. Returning to the character for November’s Flash movie sounds like he had some fun putting his iteration of the character to rest.
Now that Batman’s behind him, Affleck’s reorienting himself towards pursuing projects he genuinely wants to do, like last year’s The Last Duel. While the film underperformed financially, his performance as Count Pierre d’Alençon was something he enjoyed. “I really loved the movie!…I was disappointed more people didn’t see it, but I can’t chase what’s going to be cool.” That realisation of needing to stick to his guns is what he thinks will be better for every actor going forward, and the industry in general. “I’m not preoccupied with notions of success or failure about money or commercial success, because those things really corrupt your choices. Then what happens is the movies are less interesting and you’re less good.”