By Tim Hayes
Like Superman for Jerry Seinfeld, and like the Flash for Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory,” it’s always been Batman for me.
With a backstory drenched in drama, Batman always stood far and away the coolest, toughest, smartest, and most bad-assiest superhero in my view. Nothing more than a royally PO’d billionaire in a black suit and cape, Batman was the best for that very reason. He had no super powers.
He didn’t come from another planet with a denser molecular structure than normal humans, like Superman. He hadn’t been bathed in gamma rays that turned him into a raging green monster, like the Hulk. He wasn’t the subject of a secret serum that artificially boosted his metabolism to super strength, like Captain America.
No, he was just Bruce Wayne, a guy with a huge pile of money and an even bigger chip on his shoulder. He used those tools to make himself smarter, stronger, more courageous. Batman is the entrepreneurial superhero.
Captured on film brilliantly in three movies starring Christian Bale, Batman was set to appear next, for the first time, in a blockbuster film along with Superman. Fanboys filled the Internet with guesses and hopes as to who would play the Caped Crusader in this next installment, after Bale bailed on another go-round in the Batcave.
This week, we got the answer. And the outrage was immediate. Ben Affleck. As Batman. Good God Almighty. My first thought was: As a film-going society, we’re being punked, right? But, sadly, no.
“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular superheroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent,” explained Greg Silverman, Warner Bros.’ president of creative development and worldwide production.
Well, I used to work in corporate PR, and this is just the type of hash that gets flung around all the time. Nobody’s buying it, Greg. The blowback from this travesty of miscasting came swiftly, strongly, and nearly unanimously.
Why not Betty White as Batman? She would be at least as believable as Ben Affleck. How about Kermit the Frog? Heck, what’s Adam West doing these days? Or Michael Keaton? At least he’s pulled it off a couple of times already. But Ben Affleck? Ben Freaking Affleck?
Yeah, I know, he won an Oscar. So did Roberto Benigni and Richard Dreyfuss, but you don’t see anybody casting them as superheroes, do you?
The day after the casting was announced, a story posted on the web about how Ben Affleck has begun a daily two-hour workout to get into shape for the role. Say, Ben, here’s an idea. How about spending two hours a day on your acting? Because you’re gonna need all the help you can get to convince anybody that you’re Batman. They can build muscles into the suit, you drip.
This train wreck of a movie is scheduled to come out in 2015. I’ll probably hate it. But, dammit, I know I’ll be there anyway, forking over my eight bucks. Because Batman is the coolest.
But honestly…Ben Affleck? You positive we’re not being punked?
Copyright 2013 Tim Hayes Consulting