Superhero movie fans, wanting to see exactly how DC Comics will answer the blockbuster hit "The Avengers" from Marvel, were abuzz with the possibility this week that actor and director Ben Affleck might take on "Justice League."
And while there is nothing wrong with Warner Bros. approaching the Oscar-winning writer to take on such a project, reports are out that Affleck would politely decline.
Variety reported Wednesday that while there is nothing in stone, Warner Bros. is very much interested in talking to Affleck to take on "Justice League." The project is written by Will Beall -- the man behind the planned "Logan's Run" remake as well as a writer for the ABC series "Castle" -- and has been looking for a director over the past several months.
Warner Bros. has been developing the project since 2008, but picked up steam again in recent months, especially with the end of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy as well as the success of "The Avengers," which is now the third highest-grossing film of all time with $616.8 million.
However, if Warner Bros. wants to match the success of "Avengers" -- which may even end up beating "The Dark Knight Rises" at the box office this year -- it will have some struggles. Marvel put together a string of individual films for many of the Avengers team, including Thor, Captain America and Iron Man -- all of which were box office successes. In fact, the only major character to get recast was the Hulk, which seemed to be the perfect fit for Mark Ruffalo, after being played in previous films by Eric Bana and Edward Norton.
Warner Bros. has not had that same success with DC. A proposed Wonder Woman film project never got off the ground, with "Avengers" director Joss Whedon the last person involved. Superman has struggled over the last decade, despite a Bryan Singer film in 2006, although it looks like it might get a triumphant return in "Man of Steel" with the help of Nolan.
But then that brings questions up about Batman's inclusion. Will the same Batman -- played by Christian Bale -- be a part of this project? Likely not, based on what Nolan has told the media in the past. For him, his version of Batman died in the trilogy, and there are no plans to continue with a Nightwing character -- despite being teased at the end of the final film.
Affleck would be an interesting choice to take on such a project. Outside of a short he did in 1993, Affleck didn't even begin directing until 2007 with "Gone Baby Gone." In 2010, he directed "The Town," which earned $92.2 million domestically against a $37 million budget. He recently completed work on "Argo," a thriller starring himself, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman, that is set for release in October.
Yet, these have all been smaller-budget projects. However, this isn't the first time his name has been connected with superheroes. Affleck played one of his favorite superheroes as the title character in 2003's "Daredevil," which earned $102.5 million on a $78 million budget. He also played George Reeves, the man who first portrayed Superman on the screen, in the 2006 crime drama "Hollywoodland."
Despite all this talk, it's likely that Affleck will not join the production, according to Deadline.com's Mike Fleming.
"Just because the studio wants Affleck doesn't mean he will do the movie, and several sources tell me he might take a meeting, but that's it," Fleming said.
There is still no plans on when "Justice League" would be produced, and not a single person has been cast. That will have to wait for a director first. Even if Warner Bros. chose a director by the end of the year, filming could not get under way until late 2013 at the earliest.
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