While his time as Batman was short, if Ben Affleck would have listened to former Batman George Clooney, it would have been much shorter.
While discussing his new TV series Catch-22 on Hulu, Clooney, 58, told The Hollywood Reporter during their Awards Chatter podcast that he told Affleck, 46, he shouldn’t play Batman.
Clooney played Batman in the 1997 much-maligned film Batman & Robin, considered by many as one of the worst Batman films, which essentially killed the franchise until Christopher Nolan rebooted it with 2005’s Batman Begins.
After Nolan’s trilogy, 2005’s Batman Begins, 2008’s The Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, was complete, Warner Bros. cast Affleck as Batman to make his debut in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The casting choice was a divisive one, with many fans up in arms about the choice, and when it came time for Affleck to decide if he wanted the role, he spoke with Clooney, who advised him to turn it down.
‘I actually did talk to him about it. I said, “Don’t do it,”‘ Clooney said. ‘It was only from my experience, which is, you know…’
‘In a way, we had very similar careers, highs and lows, ups and downs, and that’s good, you know. No one’s trajectory is a straight line up,’ he said.
‘He had worked his way back from actor jail, which happens when I do Batman & Robin and he does Gigli, so it’s that, he gets to that moment, and I think, “Don’t do something they can fire back off at you. He did great, though.’
Affleck starred in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which earned $330,3 million domestic and $873.6 million worldwide, but was largely panned by critics.
After a brief cameo in 2016’s Suicide Squad, Affleck returned in 2017’s Justice League, which underperformed at the box office ($229 million domestic, $657.9 million worldwide).
Affleck was also slated to star in a stand alone film dubbed The Batman, which at one point he was supposed to both co-write (with Geoff Johns) and direct.
He ultimately stepped away from the entire franchise, with Matt Reeves now directing The Batman as Warner Bros. remains on the hunt for a new Batman.
Both Affleck and Clooney have moved on from their Batman failures, with Clooney starring in, producing and directing Catch-22, based on Joseph Heller’s iconic novel, which debuts on Hulu May 17.
Affleck has two movies he’s slated to direct, with Witness For the Prosecution, adapted from Agatha Christie’s novel of the same name, and Ghost Army, based on Rick Beyer’s book.
Affleck also stars in the upcoming drama Torrance, from director Gavin O’Connor, which is slated for release on October 18.