‘Batman Vs. Superman’: Producer Michael Uslan Talks Casting Ben Affleck

The longtime producer compares the backlash to his experiences casting Michael Keaton as Batman and Heath Ledger as The Joker.
The longtime producer compares the backlash to his experiences casting Michael Keaton as Batman and Heath Ledger as The Joker.

While directors and actors will come and go, there is one man who has been involved with every Batman movie since director Tim Burton's 1989 adventure, producer Michael E. Uslan. Now, almost 18 years later, Batman is finally meeting Superman on screen as he crosses over into the Man of Steel sequel Batman Vs. Superman, which begins production this spring. The producer recently spoke with EP Daily, where he was asked about Zack Snyder's take on the character, and his thoughts about the negativity swirling around Ben Affleck's casting as Batman.

Here's what he had to say about Zack Snyder's vision and the evolution of Batman.

"I feel great. First of all, Zack is 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, and 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. Its a chance for a new direction, and it's going to be something that people I think will be just so excited about."

When Ben Affleck was cast as The Dark Knight last year, it set off a firestorm of negative reactions from fanboys all over the world. Now entering his 25th year with the franchise, Michael E. Uslan is no stranger to these kinds of reactions, revealing his initial thoughts about Michael Keaton being cast as Batman were similar to the Ben Affleck backlash.

"It starts with this, I've lived this in the past before and I'm speaking now really more as a Bat-fan than as the Bat-producer. We went through it all with Michael Keaton. I lead the charge from the first time I heard Tim (Burton) was thinking of hiring Michael Keaton to play Batman. I'd go, 'Oh my god, all the 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. Mom 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. If you're trying to do a serious, dark superhero, people have to believe in Bruce Wayne as that obsessed driven guy, to the point maybe of almost being psychotic. A guy who would get dressed up as a bat and do what he did. 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. A number of years go by, and then all of a sudden the torches and the pitchforks go up, 'Oh my god, the guy that played the gay cowboy is going to be The Joker? They're going to destroy the greatest super villain in history.' And then after Heath Ledger's performance, when they actually went to see it, nobody ever wanted The Joker played by another actor again. So here we are, with an Academy Award winning filmmaker. You look at his last bunch of movies, Hollywoodland, he had me convinced he was George Reeves. The Town, Argo, just really, really great quality of work. Again, I'll go back to what Tim said in the beginning, it's all about Bruce Wayne, and when you focus on it, Bruce Wayne, maybe in his mid-forties, what's he going to be feeling? What's he going to be thinking? What does he have on his plate to deal with? I just couldn't be more excited about it."

Zack Snyder is directing Batman Vs. Superman from a script by David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio, with production scheduled to begin this spring. Do you think fans are overreacting to Ben Affleck's casting? Or do you think he's completely wrong to play The Dark Knight?

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to theaters March 25th, 2016 and stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons. The film is directed by Zack Snyder.

Sources: EP Daily

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Comments (8)

  1. CelluloidDreams

    Oh give it up and stop defending the casting decision....Go be free to pursue a life of religious fulfillment!!.

    1 year agoby @2movieguysFlag

  2. ObiWanShinobi

    barely & nice points by the way in regards to Clint's comment @Brizzy

    1 year agoby @ObiWanShinobiFlag

  3. Brizzy

    @ObiWanShinobi forget the article, could you even understand his comment?

    1 year agoby @BrizzyFlag

  4. Brizzy

    @pack-rulz1978 Who said it has to be ONLY about superman? 20 other people? 2 other heroes have been announced, only one of which gets significant screentime, the other probably a cameo. You're acting as if we dont even know the background of all of these characters. You're acting AS IF WE HAVEN'T ALREADY ESTABLISHED SUPERMANS ORIGINS AND MOTIVATIONS AND BACKGROUND IN A MOVIE PRIOR TO THIS ONE. Or did you already forget Man of Steel?
    "Affleck and Snyder spells extravaganza, not great story-telling, and that's gonna turn off alot of people at the box office, mark my words", Well let's see the poster outside of every damn building when the film premiers, with Batman on one side and Superman on the other, and let's see how many people get "turned off". I honestly dont know WHY you're pulling non-existent arguments out of your ass, and francly I dont give a rats ass why, but one thing I can tell: it's all what you THINK, not what has been shown or seen. They have already set up a good story. You're telling me the other heroes of the world would NOT get involved after what happened with the kryptonians in metropolis? You're telling me we would watch another movie with ONLY Kal-El, without any other heroes being involved somehow, caring for their world?
    A great story HAS been set up, it's about f*cking time we see where all that madness took us.

    1 year agoby @BrizzyFlag

  5. Clint

    Here's the thing, Uslan: Man of Steel 2's supposed to, ya' know, be mostly about the, um....MAN OF STEEL. This isn't a Batman movie, "Bat-producer," it's about Superman and not 20 other people that are going to distract totally from the guy whose journey's supposed to set up a quality JLA movie down the line, isn't it? How can you possibly do that when you have Cavill, an unknown, and Affleck, on the poster together? It totally diminishes Superman in his own movie before you even GET to the point of all the other famous actors you're bringing in for other superhero roles which will likely distract from Superman AGAIN. Burton/Keaton didn't do that, Schumacher's lunacy did, and look how wonderfully the Clooney incarnation sunk the franchise until Nolan (the guy who walked out coincidentally on THIS project upon the casting of Batfleck), along with Bale, single-handedly saved the Batman franchise from the ashes with real, great story-telling. NOT flash, but true DASH beneath the hood, man. Affleck and Snyder spells extravaganza, not great story-telling and that's gonna turn off a TON of people at the box office, mark my words. Marvel pieced their universe together in stages for that very reason and it WORKED. Why throw everything on the wall at once, bet the entire DC franchise on it, and pray it doesn't turn into Waterworld when you could simply concentrate on the great story set up FIRST?

    1 year agoby @pack-rulz1978Flag

  6. Mieko_Siede

    Despite all the negative reactions to the casting choices made throughout the development of this film I am truly looking forward to this. In fact, it's because of all the choices they're making, the so-called "risky" choices in casting, it makes me anticipate this movie more than any other to this point. Viewers often forget those other casting decisions that made them scratch their heads and then ultimately end up loving the direction a film has taken unable to imagine anyone different in the role. Uslan has made some very valid points in regards to casting and judgement before a product is finished. It's all about the vision and some actors, however unlikely, can fulfill that better than a lot of obvious choices who could just as easily bomb in the role. The direction this DCU is taking is complexed and layered and that is what ultimately has me stoked based upon what they have to build from. The biggest hurdle for an audience is change and the acceptance of it. I believe the cast and all the components they are building with is going to make for a stellar series of movies to come.

    1 year agoby @mieko-siedeFlag

  7. ObiWanShinobi

    Did you not get the point of the article? @dfella

    1 year agoby @ObiWanShinobiFlag

  8. Dfella504

    fuk u wb...at da end of da day..yea we no u fukers going to go all out to aim to please, we jus dont like sum of da casting but as we've seen its been working so far, for u and marvel..so jus hope u all break a bill wit this sh*t..like i said i c it making about 600,00,000. mill..not avengers money..and i'm not a marvel fan i'm a TRU COMIC BOOK fan..not these fake as wanna b fans who dont no sh*t..good luck mid 40's batman BULLSHIIT!!!!!!

    1 year agoby @dfellaFlag

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