Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are rumored to be dropping Ben Affleck from the role of Batman in the DC Extended Universe and are looking for a new actor to play the Dark Knight. The rumor stems from a report in Variety, which claims that the studio is looking to reevaluate the way it makes DC Comics movies. Affleck was featured in three films in the DC Extended Universe: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. Both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were critically panned upon their release. Last year’s Justice League, which was intended to be a relaunch for the series, fared only slightly better with critics but was nevertheless a financial disappointment for the studio.
Sources close to DC say that executives plan on relaunching the character with a younger actor in future films. News that Warner Bros. is looking to recast the character is sure to be a major disappointment for Affleck. According to an article in Hollywood Life, the actor feels that he still has much to do in the role of Batman. Affleck’s renewed interest in the role is said to be inspired by Joaquin Phoenix’s unique portrayal of his title role in next year’s Joker film. While Warner Bros. might be motivated to recast the character in favor of a younger actor, Affleck’s latest stay in rehab is also a factor. Industry insiders say that insurance costs following Affleck’s completion of rehab might be prohibitive for the studio. Nevertheless, Affleck has taken to social media many times since he began rehab in August, showing pictures of himself exercising so that fans know that he is still keeping in shape for his role in the DC Extended Universe.
A number of actors are rumored to be under consideration by Warner Bros. for the role of Batman. English actor Jack O’Connell is the latest contender on DC’s shortlist. O’Connell, at 28 years old, seems to fit the bill for Matt Reeves’ noir-inspired script for The Batman. Reeves’ script will see a far younger Caped Crusader than Affleck’s middle-aged adaptation of the character. Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame is also reportedly under consideration for the role of Batman, but at 47 years old he might be too old for Reeves’ film.