Ben Affleck has had a very busy 2016. He wrapped filming on his long-delayed Argo directorial follow-up Live by Night early this year, then almost immediately hit the press circuit for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Directly after that, he went and shot Justice League for director Zack Snyder, and towards the end of principal photography on the DC superhero team-up, Affleck had press duties for his starring turn in the action thriller The Accountant. He’s currently in the midst of finishing post-production on Live by Night so the film is ready for release at the end of December, but it sounds like Affleck has no plans of slowing down in 2017.
We’ve known for some time that Warner Bros. has been keen on the idea of Affleck directing a standalone Batman movie, and while Affleck certainly took his time in committing (he didn’t want to agree to direct the film without first having a great script, and as someone with a huge amount of clout with WB, could pretty much tell them it’ll be ready when it’s ready), the film is now really firming up and it looks like cameras will roll next year.
Speaking with Variety, Alfred himself Jeremy Irons was asked if he’ll have more to do in Justice League, and in answering he suggested that filming on The Batman is poised to take place next summer:
“Similar, but then, of course, Ben’s going to make a Batman film next summer. He promises me there’s going to be a bit more of Alfred in that. In the Justice League we have seven major lead characters and I’m the butler to one of them. It’s clear I will not be dominating that film.”
Affleck has reportedly been working on co-writing a script for the Batman movie with DC Comics COO and DC Films head Geoff Johns, and we recently learned that Joe Manganiello will be playing the film’s primary villain Deathstroke.
This is an interesting and exciting turnaround for Affleck, who intended on making Live by Night back in 2013—right after Argo won Best Picture—but kept pushing the film back, first to work with David Fincher on Gone Girl and then to play Batman in Batman v Superman.
While Warner Bros. has put together an exciting roster of filmmakers for its DC Films going forward, Affleck is certainly the most prestigious, and I’ll admit the thing I’m most excited to learn about The Batman is who’s shooting it. Affleck has worked with incredible cinematographers on all of his films thus far—John Toll (Gone Baby Gone), Robert Elswit (The Town), Rodrigo Prieto (Argo), and Robert Richardson (Live by Night)—so I can’t wait to see who he enlists to shoot The Batman. Honestly, it’s not a pipe dream to think that Affleck could convince Roger Deakins to serve as DP. Or how about a visceral take via Emmanuel Lubezki or Bill Pope?
Regardless, it sounds like Affleck won’t be taking near as long between directorial projects this time around. Warner Bros. hasn’t yet set a release date for The Batman, but you can be sure it’s coming very soon.