It was filming “Justice League” that made Ben Affleck want to hang up his Batman cape.
“It was really ‘Justice League’ that was the nadir for me,” Affleck, 49, told the Los Angeles Times about shooting director Zack Snyder’s 2017 movie. “That was a bad experience because of a confluence of things: my own life, my divorce, being away too much, the competing agendas, and then Zack’s personal tragedy [with his daughter committing suicide during the filming] and the reshooting. It just was the worst experience. It was awful.”
The whole experience turned Affleck against playing the Caped Crusader. “It was everything that I didn’t like about this,” he said. “That became the moment where I said, ‘I’m not doing this anymore.’ It’s not even about, like, ‘Justice League’ was so bad. Because it could have been anything.”
But ultimately, it was “Justice League” that made Affleck decide to drop out of starring and directing “The Batman.” Robert Pattinson will now suit up as the Gotham City superhero in the film, which opens March 4.
“I looked at it and thought, ‘I’m not going to be happy doing this. The person who does this should love it,’ ” said Affleck. “You’re supposed to always want these things, and I probably would have loved doing it at 32 or something. But it was the point where I started to realize it’s not worth it.”
But passing on that big payday paid personal dividends for Affleck: Instead of taking on “The Batman,” he went to rehab for alcoholism.
“It’s just a wonderful benefit of reorienting and recalibrating your priorities that once it started being more about the experience, I felt more at ease,” he said.
As much as he may regret making “Justice League,” though, Affleck wouldn’t take back doing 2003’s much-maligned “Gigli,” in which he co-starred with his then and current girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. In addition to being critically lambasted, the film also bombed at the box office.
“But if the reaction to Gigli hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t have ultimately decided, ‘I don’t really have any other avenue but to direct movies,’ which has turned out to be the real love of my professional life,” Affleck told Entertainment Weekly in a new cover story.
“So in those ways, it’s a gift. And I did get to meet Jennifer, the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life.”