JUS­TICE LEAGUE

Bat­man! Won­der Woman! The Flash! Aqua­man! Cy­borg! It’s the Shep­ton Mal­let Crown Green Bowl­ing Club! No, hold on, that’s not right…

SFX - - Contents -

Just imag­ine! the might­i­est heroes of our time have banded to­gether as the Jus­tice League…”

so trum­peted a house ad in 1960, hyp­ing the first book de­voted to all of DC’s icons from the fa­bled sil­ver age of comics: Jus­tice League of amer­ica. the tit­u­lar team’s ros­ter has changed re­peat­edly over the decades, and they’ve been por­trayed in ev­ery medium, from an­i­ma­tion to videogames. now they’re on the big screen in this au­tumn’s Jus­tice League movie. Con­ceived by Warner Bros as the linch­pin in its DC ex­tended uni­verse, it serves as a se­quel to last year’s di­vi­sive Bat­man V Su­per­man: Dawn Of

Jus­tice – in which Ben af­fleck’s Bat­man and gal gadot’s Won­der Woman teamed up with henry Cav­ill’s su­per­man. Jus­tice League part­ners the film’s sur­viv­ing heroes with ezra miller’s Flash, Ja­son mo­moa’s aqua­man and ray Fisher’s Cy­borg – when the earth is threat­ened by the planet apokolips.

as SFX chats with the stars in a sunny san Diego, af­fleck tells us the cast’s col­lab­o­ra­tion is mir­rored by that of their char­ac­ters.

“it’s in­ter­est­ing,” says the star, whose Dark Knight is re­spon­si­ble for unit­ing the team, “be­cause that’s kind of the theme of the movie. it’s about the var­i­ous in­di­vid­u­als and how it is that they come to work to­gether, essen­tially, and col­lab­o­rate. they don’t all jump in the same boat with the same mis­sion right away. there’s a process through which Bruce Wayne is try­ing to re­cruit peo­ple and then con­vince them of the right­eous­ness of the cause, and that it’s im­por­tant for them to work to­gether. so that very dy­namic is re­ally a big part of the first and sec­ond acts of the movie. it worked out dra­mat­i­cally.

“this is a very dif­fer­ent dy­namic for Bruce Wayne from the first movie,” af­fleck is quick to point out, “where he was full of anger and re­sent­ment and a kind of ir­ra­tional rage to­wards su­per­man. here, he’s re­ally in the mode of your more clas­sic Bat­man story, where he’s more heroic, try­ing to save and pro­tect peo­ple, try­ing to build this unit. that was a to­tally dif­fer­ent thing. the idea that this char­ac­ter is try­ing to as­sem­ble a group and get them to work to­gether. Be­cause Bat­man is a kind of in­ter­nal, dark, con­flicted guy. so it was chal­leng­ing for him to turn out­ward and try to get all th­ese peo­ple to work to­gether.”

gadot – fresh off the block­buster suc­cess of this sum­mer’s Won­der Woman solo film – says proudly, “it’s a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to see all th­ese out­casts, all the out­siders, find a way to­gether to fight for jus­tice.”

FAM­ILY MAT­TERS

hav­ing just wit­nessed the lat­est footage from

Jus­tice League, we point out that Won­der Woman and Bat­man ap­pear to func­tion as the group’s mother and fa­ther.

Fisher nods. “mom’s su­per nice, and dad’s real grumpy,” he laughs. “i was breast­feed­ing ezra,” dead­pans gadot. “i think that both of them are very al­phatype,” she says of Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince. “Both of them deal with their past and both of them will do ev­ery­thing to make a bet­ter world and fight crime and fight evil. so we share a lot in com­mon. it’s like yin and yang. they work well to­gether. he has ev­ery­thing that she doesn’t, she has ev­ery­thing that he doesn’t, and they work for the same cause... she’s warmer and more lov­ing and open, and he’s more so­phis­ti­cated.”

“tough, but so­phis­ti­cated,” says af­fleck. “he’s an ass­hole. it’s a to­tal type­cast.”

re­gard­ing the comic book re­search the cast un­der­took for their roles, mo­moa states, “the

New 52, any­thing that [writer] ge­off Johns is on. that’s what i’ve read.”

“th­ese days, i’m all about gard­ner Fox,” says miller, ref­er­enc­ing the team’s orig­i­nal sil­ver age cre­ator. “it’s who i think about all the time.

Yeah, i read comics. Comics are a bless­ing. Comics are a mythol­ogy, a mytho­log­i­cal source, a mytho­log­i­cal font with the po­ten­tial to save us meek, hor­ri­fy­ing hu­mans from our ter­ri­ble ways. Comics have the po­ten­tial for a lit­tle bit of sal­va­tion. so yes, i read comics. i en­joy them.” miller also en­joyed his time shoot­ing Jus­tice League. Per­haps some­times a lit­tle too much. “You know what it feels like sit­ting in the Bat­mo­bile?” he says. “it’s like an or­gasm. it just rip­ples through your whole body. oh my god, i would just touch Ja­son’s tri­dent all day. he’d be like, ‘get off my tri­dent!’ i’ll just touch Cy­borg’s glow­ing eye. Just gen­tly ca­ress the glow­ing eye, you know? the lasso, i was al­ways grab­bing the lasso. all the Bat gad­gets... man, it’s awe­some. Fuck­ing awe­some.” Laugh­ing at miller, Fisher re­marks, “Cy­borg’s a fairly newer char­ac­ter, so it was eas­ier for me to check out a lot of the source ma­te­rial from The New Teen Ti­tans, which was cre­ated back in the 1980s by marv Wolf­man and george Perez. Back at that time, there were a lot of po­lit­i­cally charged DC comics, and it was re­ally har­row­ing to see, be­cause i’d never seen comic books that had that much so­cio-po­lit­i­cal commentary. i was ex­tremely sur­prised to see that, and then see that it­er­a­tion go­ing through the New 52 ver­sion of Cy­borg, see­ing the vari­a­tions of that. i think Chris ter­rio, our writer, did a phe­nom­e­nal job of pulling the best parts from all those worlds and mak­ing sure that they were rep­re­sented in a way that hope­fully will be im­pact­ful and mean­ing­ful to the au­di­ence.”

of the film’s Cy­borg, Fisher ex­plains, “he’s a col­lege ath­lete with an iQ of 170 be­fore he even gets cy­ber­netic. so you take a smart guy, make him even smarter. he essen­tially has his whole world taken away from him. he has his body taken away in a tragic ac­ci­dent, and his fa­ther, with whom he has a very sor­did re­la­tion­ship, takes it upon him­self to graft th­ese cy­ber­netic ma­te­ri­als – made from this apokolip­tian mother Box – to him. so that cre­ates a lot more ten­sion within that re­la­tion­ship, the idea that his fa­ther wanted him to go into sci­ence, and he just wanted to be him­self. the idea of Cy­borg deal­ing with his du­al­ity just runs through­out the en­tire course of this film. he’s a bit more se­ri­ous be­cause he’s only re­cently, in our ver­sion, be­come Cy­borg. so he’s still deal­ing with what that means. he finds a lot of

those an­swers, or be­gins to find a lot of those an­swers, through in­ter­act­ing with th­ese guys.

“one of Cy­borg’s strengths,” adds Fisher, “is also his weak­ness, in that he is ex­tremely sen­si­tive to the world around him. We see a lot of in­ter­ac­tion and a lot of growth within the char­ac­ter. his need to be un­der­stood by the peo­ple that are clos­est to him, is tough, par­tic­u­larly with his fa­ther, and just be­ing able to open up to the world around him is very dif­fi­cult. i’m sure peo­ple can un­der­stand and are com­pas­sion­ate to­ward his sit­u­a­tion.” re­gard­ing the strug­gle Bat­man faces in

Jus­tice League, af­fleck ex­plains, “Bruce Wayne has a kind of in­ner dark­ness and cyn­i­cism that he has to get past in or­der to bring his team to­gether.”

“Won­der Woman,” says gadot, “is 900 or 3000 years old – de­pend­ing on who you lis­ten to – and be­cause of that she’s very lonely. she’s had a lot of loss through­out the years.”

“Barry,” says miller of his char­ac­ter, “de­spises so­cial mores and time-con­sum­ing bu­reau­cra­cies.”

“aqua­man,” adds mo­moa, “he’s not even re­ally aqua­man yet. he’s not the King of the seven seas. We don’t re­ally get there un­til my solo movie, at the end. re­ally, it’s a huge growth for me. it’s a gi­gan­tic arc for arthur Curry. it may be tough for a lot of fans to watch what they’re gonna see, how i por­tray him. But you gotta wait un­til we get to the solo movie to re­ally know. Be­cause he’s not king yet. he doesn’t be­lieve in him­self, he doesn’t know what to do with the pow­ers he has. he’s go­ing through tons of loss. he hates at­lanteans. the fact that peo­ple are call­ing him ‘aqua­man’ right now – he couldn’t give two shits about any­thing at­lantean. so he’s re­ally not quite there yet. that’s kind of tough to play. We gotta fig­ure out the ori­gin, where we’re go­ing. some peo­ple will be like, ‘this isn’t my aqua­man.’ But we’re not there yet.”

Pro­duc­tion on Jus­tice League was com­pli­cated by the sud­den depar­ture of di­rec­tor Zack sny­der from the project (af­ter the death of his daugh­ter), and his sub­se­quent re­place­ment by Joss Whe­don. But af­fleck tells us the movie ben­e­fits from hav­ing two vet­eran film­mak­ers be­hind it.

“it’d be hard for me to en­cap­su­late Zack’s style in a pithy way, or Joss’s. they both have a strong in­tu­itive sense of how a scene should play, and they’ve thought about it well ahead of time. i don’t get the sense that ei­ther of them had spe­cific styles that sort of su­per­seded the way they want to tell the story. i think that they were fo­cused on the char­ac­ters and the story and they al­lowed that to dic­tate style. nat­u­rally, they both have very strong senses of style [and are] slightly dif­fer­ent. But, none­the­less, both make for com­pelling movies.”

of work­ing with Whe­don for the first time, gadot re­marks, “i think he was very fair to each and ev­ery one of us in terms of know­ing that we know the char­ac­ters best, and he gave us the free­dom to be that way. at the same time he does bring his own tal­ent and his vi­sion to the movie. it was lovely work­ing with him.”

JOsstiCe leaGUe

“Joss just brought to the movie what good di­rec­tors bring,” says af­fleck, “which is good taste. a sense of what’s gonna work in the story and what isn’t. an in­stinct for re­al­ism and for find­ing the hu­man­ity in the char­ac­ters and the hu­man­ity in the con­flict, then mak­ing it ac­ces­si­ble and rel­e­vant. i think that’s one of the things he did so well with Avengers, frankly. he re­ally de­fined the tone, and it felt like a lot of the movies af­ter that sort of fell into that tone that he cre­ated. it was a very tricky dance where you have all th­ese peo­ple who can do all th­ese fan­tas­tic things that’s com­pletely ab­surd on the face of it, and yet, a good sto­ry­teller like Joss brings us in, makes us iden­tify with them, makes them seem real, and makes it in­ter­est­ing. a lot of guys know the comic books, a lot of peo­ple have that knowl­edge base. What Joss re­ally has is tal­ent.

“i wish,” adds af­fleck, who was orig­i­nally slated to helm the next solo Bat­man film, “i had the gift that he has for iden­ti­fy­ing what’s the most com­pelling hu­man drama in the con­text of su­per­hero con­flict. But he has a very sharp mind for it. he knows ex­actly what he wants, al­most with a sur­geon’s kind of of pre­ci­sion. he fo­cuses in, beat by beat, on how he’s telling the story, ex­actly where he’ll be ed­i­to­ri­ally. What the tenor of the de­liv­ery of a line should be like. he gives you com­fort be­cause you feel like he has a very clear idea of what he wants, what he ex­pects, and, most im­por­tantly, what he thinks will work.”

“ev­ery ex­pe­ri­ence is dif­fer­ent when you work with dif­fer­ent film­mak­ers,” says gadot. “i think at their core, each and ev­ery one of them has the un­der­stand­ing of how to tell a good story. so yeah, of course you feel the dif­fer­ence, but not in a bad way. Just be­cause they’re dif­fer­ent peo­ple.”

Jus­tice League is re­leased 17 Novem­ber.

You know what sit­ting in the bat­mo­bile feels like? it’s like an or­gasm

70

It’s hard try­ing not to tread on Bat­man’s cape.

In her spare time, Diana makes busts of her­self.

Awk­wardly stand­ing around wait­ing for the bad guys to ar­rive.

The hor­ror at see­ing Cy­borg dis­man­tled into two cam­eras.

What­ever you do, don’t call Aqua­man a fish brain.

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