When Ben Affleck was announced as taking on the role of The Dark Knight in next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the negative reaction to the news wasn’t the first time that Warner Bros. had found itself under fire for its casting of the Caped Crusader.
Michael Keaton suffered a similar fate as Affleck when he signed on for Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie, with fans flooding the studio with over 50,000 letters of complaint about his appointment (this was of course back in the dark ages of pre-internet, so at least he avoided the dreaded e-petition).
During a recent Q&A, Keaton was asked about the reaction to his casting, and the uproar over a “comedian” taking on the role:
“It baffled me that anyone was thinking about that. I heard about the outrage, and I couldn’t get it. I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. It made me feel bad that it was even in question. I thought it was half-funny, but it was in the middle of shooting, so the pressure was on. The pressure was on all of us, anyway, to see if we could pull it off. We didn’t even know if the suit was going to work. It kinda didn’t, for the first couple of days. It was pretty ridiculously funny, actually. I have claustrophobia, and being in it and not being able to get out of it, all day long, was a huge deal. I thought, “You better figure out a way to make this thing work,” and I did. I just went a little deeper inside of the guy. He’s a very alienated dude, inside of himself. I just went to that place. And then, I got used to it and worked it. It was so strong and powerful that there wasn’t much I had to do except work that suit.”
Keaton of course went on to silence his critics and win over the fans with his performance as The Dark Knight, so let’s hope Affleck can do the same…