When Ben Affleck was initially approached to play the role of Batman in Man of Steel 2, he was called up and asked if he was quite sure he wanted to do it. Well Affleck, blown over by the directorial talent that is Zack Snyder, naturally went ahead and took the studio up on the offer. But it wasn’t until the studio executives at Warner shared with Affleck some negative responses to previous actors taking on such prominent roles in blockbuster movies, followed by Affleck taking a look at some the responses targeted at him, that he learned that reading any Internet comments at all turned out to be a really bad idea.
Affleck, 41, told Jimmy Fallon on Late Night that in spite of the heavy warnings from the studio executives of the “trying” times to come and to make sure he steered well clear of the Internet, Affleck found it too irresistible not to at least take a little sneak a peek to see what people were saying. “I’m a big boy… I’m very tough,” came his audacious response. Affleck recalled to Fallon how he first of all came across the announcement about the upcoming film on the Internet. But then his eyes were drawn to the very first response from a Batman fan, which simply read, “Nooooooo0000000!”
The backlash on Affleck’s decision to go through with the role has been astounding. So much so, that Affleck has had to become a man of steel for real. Case in point: how would you react to a petition via the Change.org site that was set up against you and that carried over 90,000 signatures? Another had been less than friendly: “Kiiiiillllll hiiiiiimmmm!” As fate would have it, or rather, history, Affleck is not alone in the backlash. There have been other stars that have been reportedly humiliated by the public’s response at being cast in a Batman movie; namely Anne Hathaway, Michael Keaton and even Heath Ledger had to run the gauntlet all the way to the box office.
It has been often said in Hollywood that an actor or director is only as good as their last movie. But what about actors and directors who have only just won an Oscar just a few months back? Does that still count? How could it have been so quickly brushed aside the fact that Ben Affleck was nominated for, and won, a plethora of film awards over a long period of time, that any other critic would even dare to shake a stick at?
Not only did Affleck win an Oscar this year for Best Picture of the Year for Argo, but he also won a Golden Globe and BAFTA for Best Director as well as winning an award at the Hollywood Film Festival for Best Ensemble of the Year – all of which were for Argo. Let us also not forget both the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards he won with Matt Damon for Best Writing, Screenplay and Best Screenplay respectively, for Good Will Hunting, in 1998.
Awards such as these are evidently not given out for nothing. If there is one other thing Affleck got right, it was a comment he made at his Oscar acceptance speech earlier this year, when he said, “you have to work harder than you think you possibly can.” Tough guy that he says he is, he went on to add that as “hard as life can be, it is not worth holding grudges and that it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen.” He finished by saying that it only matters that you get back up.
Well, “tired and weary” as he may appear in Man of Steel sequel, he is undoubtedly a man of steel when it comes to holding his nerve. Ben Affleck, for that, I salute you. I also hope that Mr Affleck can take something else away with him, alongside a myriad of movie awards: that is not to bother reading Internet comments on social networks. Bad idea.
Written by: Brucella Newman