Before I even get to the main topic, let’s be clear: Matt Reeves was never going to make a Batman film with a script written by someone else (i.e. Ben Affleck), period.
Furthermore, Ben Affleck was done playing Batman before Reeves was hired by Warner Bros., and none of the parties — Affleck, Warner Bros., and Reeves — ever intended for BA to star in Reeves’ film once he was hired.
With that said, it appears that even after Affleck walked, Warner Bros. intended to make THE BATMAN with his script (with another actor taking over the role from Affleck *cough* Jake Gyllenhaal *cough* ???)…until Matt Reeves came along.
The majority of us Batman fans that live in reality know all of this already. We also know that from the get-go, Reeves’ Batman on film pitch to Warner Bros. was for him to make a Batman movie his way, with his script, and with an actor of his choice to play the main character, period.
While meeting with Warner Bros., the studio had him take a look at Affleck’s script and out of professional courtesy, Reeves did just that.
So what did he think of it?
Via an interview with ESQUIRE, here’s what Reeves had to say about Affleck’s version of THE BATMAN…
It was very action-driven. It was very deeply connected to the DCEU, with other major characters from other movies and other comics popping up. I just knew that when I read it this particular script was not the way I’d want to do it.
I can unequivocally say that I am very happy that Matt Reeves didn’t want to do the film that way either — and I say that as someone who was all-in on Affleck writing, directing, and starring in a solo Batman movie. Personally, I want my Batman movies to be about BATMAN and not have other DC characters popping up in them because of “shared universe” reasons. Reeves continued…
I told [Warner Bros.] that there have been so many great [Batman] movies, but if I were to do this, I’d have to make it personal, so that I understood what I was going to do with it, so that I know where to put the camera, so that I know what to tell the actors, so that I know what the story should be. This take, I told them, pointing at [Affleck’s] script, is a totally valid and exciting take. It is almost James Bond-ian, but it wasn’t something that I quite related to.
Totally fair and very respectful to both Warner Bros. and to Ben Affleck. And lest we forget, BA was done with it all anyway.
Reeves was still in the middle of making when he was pitched his Batman on film idea to Warner Bros. Additionally, it would be a year or so before he could get to work on what would end up being THE BATMAN. Despite the evidence that Warners maybe wanted to continue with a DCEU solo Batman movie post-Affleck and desiring it sooner rather than later (it was supposed to be a 2018 or 2019 release at one point), Reeves won ’em over. “To my utter shock and surprise, they said, ‘You know what, we really would like you to do this. And we will wait,'” Reeves said.
Remember, Reeves walked away from negotiations at one point and eventually said yes once WB decided to let him make the Batman movie he wanted to make.
Thank goodness. – Bill “Jett” Ramey
THE BATMAN hits theaters on March 4, 2022. Follow BOF’s Everything About THE BATMAN Page. Make plans to attend BOF’s THE BATMAN Watch Party.