‘Batman’ producer discusses Ben Affleck backlash

Michael Uslan says casting controversy reminds him of reaction to Michael Keaton landing role

Batman producer Michael Uslan has discussed the backlash surrounding the casting of Ben Affleck as Gotham’s caped crusader in the forthcoming Batman Vs Superman.

Uslan has been involved with every big-screen adventure for Bruce Wayne since Tim Burton’s film Batman in 1989, and will also work on Man Of Steel 2, which will see Affleck go head-to-head with Henry Cavill’s Superman in a superhero mash-up.

Speaking to EP Daily about the film, he said: “I feel great. First of all, Zack’s a fanboy, and he loves these characters as much as any of us do. Everybody grows as filmmakers, as actors, all of us in life, if we don’t continue to evolve, something is radically wrong. It’s so interesting to see the evolution for everybody involved and to see the evolution of Batman.

“It’s exciting and everybody is pumped up about it. It’s a chance for a new direction, and it’s going to be something that people, I think, will be just excited about.”

Uslan then compared the reaction to Affleck’s casting to the initially negative response from fans when it was announced that Michael Keaton would play Batman in Tim Burton’s film. “We went through it all with Michael Keaton,” he said. “I led the charge from the first time that I heard Tim was thinking of hiring Michael to play Batman. I’d go, ‘Oh my God, all that work, I’ve put in all these years to do a dark and serious Batman! He’s going to hire a comedian!’

“I could envision the posters: ‘Mr. Mum is Batman!’ But then he explained his vision. He had a vision, and he was right. This is all about Bruce Wayne. It’s not about Batman; it’s all about Bruce Wayne,” he added. “So, we went through the hoopla with Michael Keaton. The fans were the same reaction that I had initially, except I had the benefit of hearing a vision right away. Then when they actually went to see the movie, they never wanted anyone else to play Batman. Never.”

It was revealed last month that Batman Vs Superman has been delayed by 10 months and will now open on May 6, 2016 to “allow the filmmakers time to realise fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story”. The film was originally slated for a Summer 2015 release.