Dark Knight gets lighter

The New Paper - - LIFESTYLE - ME­HER TATNA, IN LONDON

US ac­tor Ben Af­fleck, 45, prefers his Bat­man in the new Jus­tice League movie, and so will you.

Af­ter last year’s su­per­hero flick Bat­man V Su­per­man: Dawn Of Jus­tice, where he was bat­tling an equally grim Su­per­man, he is much more light­hearted in the lat­est in­stal­ment in the DC Ex­tended Uni­verse.

At the Rose­wood London ho­tel, Af­fleck said: “The Sturm und Drang of be­ing an­gry and re­sent­ful at Su­per­man the whole time, that was a lot to carry around.

“With this one, Bat­man is not a joker and he is not as funny as, say, the Flash, but he kind of plays the straight man to him, and that is a nice dy­namic, to have a lit­tle bit more irony, self­aware­ness and fun.”

Open­ing here to­mor­row, Jus­tice League is set a few months af­ter Su­per­man (Henry Cav­ill) sac­ri­fices him­self to save Gotham City, and a new vil­lain Step­pen­wolf (Ciaran Hinds) moves in to ter­rorise hu­man­ity.

Bat­man has to bring to­gether the Jus­tice League — Won­der Woman (Gal Gadot), Cy­borg (Ray Fisher), Aqua­man (Ja­son Mo­moa) and the Flash (Ezra Miller).

Di­rec­tor Zack Sny­der dropped out dur­ing post-pro­duc­tion af­ter his daugh­ter’s sui- cide, and the film was fin­ished by film-maker Joss Whe­don.

When asked if he is ready to re­turn for more se­quels, Af­fleck was mea­sured.

“I al­ways eval­u­ate this stuff on the merit of the ma­te­rial. I was go­ing to di­rect a Bat­man movie and then opted not to be­cause I did not like the script and I did not want to di­rect a medi­ocre Bat­man.

“I had writ­ten the script, so I knew it was medi­ocre,” he said with a laugh.

He has come un­der fire for past in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour, with news of sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dals spread­ing across Hol­ly­wood.

Last month, he apol­o­gised to US ac­tress-host Hi­larie Bur­ton for grab­bing her breast dur­ing an in­ter­view in 2003.

Af­fleck said: “I think that kind of be­hav­iour on any level and scale ob­vi­ously is un­ac­cept­able. We all be­lieve and stand with the brave women and men who have come for­ward to talk about what hap­pened to them.

“So how do we put an end to a sys­tem that is in place and has al­lowed these power dy­nam­ics to ex­ist in such a way where men have all the power and are do­ing so much ex­ploit­ing?

“As a man, I need to look at my own be­hav­iour and think about how am I be­hav­ing and treat­ing peo­ple, and when I am wrong, ad­mit it, and when con­fronted with it, try to mon­i­tor my­self and take re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“We as men need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for our­selves. If it does not be­come a man’s is­sue as well as a woman’s is­sue, it is al­ways go­ing to be an is­sue.”

And then there is the dreaded Har­vey We­in­stein con­nec­tion.

The Hol­ly­wood mogul was re­spon­si­ble for the ca­reers of Af­fleck and his pal Matt Da­mon, hav­ing pro­duced their break­out film Good Will Hunt­ing 20 years ago, which won the duo Os­cars. But Af­fleck is def­i­nitely not on We­in­stein’s side.

He said: “I did not work par­tic­u­larly closely with him, and I have not worked with him for 15 years. I re­ally did not like work­ing with him.

“He was un­der­handed, du­plic­i­tous and sleazy. I did not know the ter­ri­ble ex­tent of his crimes, but I knew that there was ugly s*** go­ing on, and I did not want to be part of it.

“In ret­ro­spect, I wish I had done more and I wish I had stopped work­ing with him ear­lier, but hind­sight is 20/20.”

tnp@sph.com.sg

PHOTO: WARNER BROS

Ben Af­fleck says his char­ac­ter has a nice dy­namic with the Flash, played by Ezra Miller (left).

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