Marvel has been dominating the box office with its shared universe of superheroes, culminating in this summer’s “The Avengers.” DC Comics on the other hand, all the superheroes of which are handled by Warner Bros., has had a much rougher time of it. Batman was really the only success story to come out of DC for years and “The Dark Knight Rises” brought that series to a close. Warner Bros. has “Man of Steel” coming out next year and after that the studio hopes to have its own superhero team movie in the form of “Justice League.”
Showblitz.com is now reporting that actor/director Ben Affleck is the studio’s top choice to helm the planned film. While Affleck isn’t the only candidate the article says he’s the only one so far who’s been allowed to see the script. Affleck has a solid relationship with Warner Bros. after the success of his film “The Town” which the studio released. Affleck has shown a penchant for harsh realism in his films, which fits very well with the studio continuing the darker vibe of the Batman films that proved so successful.
There are a few possible stumbling blocks, the big one being that this could conflict with Affleck appearing in another planned Warner Bros. film. Affleck is attached to star in, though not direct, the long gestating sci-fi film “Replay.” However since he’d only be acting in that film it might be possible for the studio to work out a schedule that accommodates both projects. The article also sites Affleck’s desire to appear in films he directs, but this seems to be only an assumption based on his starring roles in his films “The Town” and the upcoming “Argo.” This assumption ignores “Gone Baby Gone,” Affleck’s directorial debut which he did not appear in.
The fantastical elements of “Justice League” would be a departure for Affleck. He’s dealt with very grounded stories up to this point and as much as Warner Bros. may want to keep things as real as possible it’s still a story about people who fly around and beat up criminals. That said, with the right crew backing him up it could be a fairly smooth transition. It doesn’t hurt that Affleck himself is a superhero fan, having already appeared in “Daredevil,” a character he had loved on the page for years.
Assuming the Affleck does take the job he’ll have quite a job ahead of him. For starters it will fall to him to introduce a new Batman to audiences fairly soon after Christian Bale finished in the role. Other characters expected to appear would include Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash. Superman is expected to be played by “Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill, which will mean Warner Bros. is establishing its own shared universe much like Marvel has already done with the films leading up to “The Avengers.” It’s an open question whether Ryan Reynolds would return as Green Lantern or not. “Green Lantern” underperformed as a film but Reynolds is still a decent sized names and its possible his contract from that film could bind him to “Justice League.”