One of the key elements to the film is the animosity between Batman and Superman. What was the basis for this bad blood?
Bruce Wayne is a man who has experienced a lot of suffering and he takes issue with the kind of destruction that Superman caused in his fight in (the previous Superman film) and that many innocent people were killed when many buildings were destroyed in the process.
I liked how (director) Zack Snyder wanted to take a look at how there’s a human cost to that kind of devastation and you can’t ignore the consequences of that level of violence. It’s the kind of issue that amplifies Bruce’s own feelings of resentment and vulnerability, and that’s why he reacts so negatively when confronted with Superman and his incredible powers that can hurt people and are beyond our control. Bruce feels threatened by this kind of presence, and he’s also projecting his own cynicism and disillusionment onto Superman because he once had a much more positive attitude about the world that has given way to this brooding darkness.
Was it important for you to be able to bring out Bruce Wayne and Batman’s damaged sides?
That’s what always impressed me about Frank Miller’s take on Batman. I first started getting interested in those stories when I was a kid growing up in Boston and that’s something that has stayed with me ever since.
Bruce Wayne is carrying a lot of emotional baggage and even though he has a lot of advantages and has achieved incredible things he’s still struggling with his identity and his outlook on the world. Bruce suffered a lot of psychological scars in his childhood and he’s still dealing with a lot of unhealthy behaviour.
How does your Batman differ from Christian Bale’s Dark Knight interpretation of the character?
Ben Affleck: We’re starting out where other versions kind of left off. I’m probably the same age as Christian was in his last one when he retired as Batman. We’re doing something different and obviously what Christian and (Dark Knight director) Christopher Nolan did was amazing and I have nothing but admiration for them.
That’s part of the reason we felt we had to do something different so that we weren’t just trying to repeat that for audiences because they did it so well. So this Batman is a little older, he’s a little more world weary. He’s been around the block once or twice so he’s a little wiser but he’s definitely darker and more jaded.
Your Batman has a mean streak.
Over the years he’s become darker and darker as he confronts all the violence and evil in the world around him. The more he’s had to immerse himself in that world, the more cynical and grim it’s made him. The best way to describe his mood is that he’s very disillusioned and broken in many ways.
You can’t go out at night and fight some of the most evil characters imaginable and not develop a dark view of the world. He also sees that no matter what he does, there are always more criminals cropping up. It’s an endless cycle of violence and that contributes to his grim outlook on things, and he never had a very optimistic picture of the world to begin with.