Ben Affleck Recalls Friend Advising Him to Step Down as Batman Over Sobriety Concerns

Affleck completed rehab one year before announcing his departure.

Ben Affleck attends the Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes's Hands and Footprint Ceremony.
Image via Getty/Tibrina Hobson
Ben Affleck attends the Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes's Hands and Footprint Ceremony.

In a revealing profile for the New York Times, Ben Affleck suggested that his decision to step down as Batman was due in part to concerns that he could possibly drink himself to death if he made another film as the Caped Crusader. 

Affleck, who is in early stages of his big screen comeback attempt as he promotes his aptly titled upcoming film The Way Back, doesn't delve too much into his short-lived turn as Batman other than to offer up a quote from a friend that read the script for the scrapped standalone movie that he was expected to star in and direct. "I showed somebody 'The Batman' script," he recalled. "They said, 'I think the script is good. I also think you'll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.'" 

Back in January of 2017, Affleck announced that he was no longer going to direct the next Batman film, but would stay on to portray the titular character. It wasn't until 2019 that the 47-year-old actor officially left the project altogether. In that two-year span, in 2018, Affleck completed his third stint in rehab. 

One month after departing from the film, Affleck made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and explained why he moved on. "You know I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter, but just kind of couldn’t come up with a version—couldn’t crack it," he said. "So I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it, and they got some really good people." 

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Affleck's final turn as Batman came in 2017's Justice League, and it became evident during the promotional phase of the film that something wasn't right. It was literally written across his face with a moment that became known on the internet as the "Sad Affleck" meme.   

"It taught me not to do interviews with Henry Cavill where I don't say anything and they can lay Simon and Garfunkel tracks over it," Affleck said on BBC Radio 1 of the meme that has been popularly featured with the song "The Sound of Silence." "That's one thing I learned."

Affleck has two films that will likely be released later this year, in addition to The Way Back: the thriller Deep Water with Ana de Armas, and The Last Duel, which will reunite him with longtime friend Matt Damon.

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