Ben Affleck and his sad beard stared out into the harbor. His face was plaintive, betraying neither pleasure nor pain. One almost couldn’t tell he was in a world of pain. But he was: Mean “War for the Planet of the Apes” director Matt Reeves had taken over the next Batman movie, entitled “The Batman,” and his first order of business was to toss out the script Affleck had written. And yet in this moment of turmoil, Affleck used his beard to find peace in a cruel and meaningless void.
This is how we imagine it went down anyway. Affleck has ended two of his movies with variations on this scene: “The Town” and “Live by Night,” though we’re pretty sure “Argo had some sad beardo staring action, too. In any case, it’s an awkward way to start a production. Affleck, of course, will be playing the brooding Caped Crusader (unless that changes, too), meaning he’ll have to answer to a boss who chucked out his precious, precious words, as well as some or maybe all of the plot elements Affleck dreamt up in his brainy head.
Among the trash may be Affleck’s planned-for baddie, one-eyed master assassin Deathstroke, who at one point was to be essayed by Joe Mangianello. Back in March, the actor confessed he didn’t know what was going on with the movie. In the interim, Deathstroke has mysteriously wound up on The CW’s “Green Arrow,” suggesting “The Batman” won’t be recycling the same villain.
While doing interviews for “War for the Planet of the Apes,” Reeves (who isn’t actually mean, quite the opposite) revealed certain details about his next film to Den of Geek. There weren’t many. He said he’d been mired in post and finishing up effects for “Apes.” But he spoke about how he could never be a mere hired hand.
“[F]or me, it has to be personal,” Reeves said, explaining that when he went into the two “Apes” he had to find some way to connect with it on a deeper level. “I don't know where to put the camera or what to tell the actors if I don't have a personal way in. I felt that way about [“War”], and I do feel that way about Batman.”
Judging from Reeves’ gloomy, heavy films — which also include “Cloverfield” and “Let Me In,” which the cool kids know is secretly superior to the film it’s remaking, “Let the Right One In” — “The Batman” will likely wind up gloomy and heavy, too, though probably not the way Zack Snyder’s DC ventures were. And Affleck will just have to suffer through it, and without his sad beard because a beard would look weird popping out of the bottom of a Batman mask.