(NEW YORK) — Having introduced his take on an older, battle-scarred Batman in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and again in Justice League the following year, the plan was for Ben Affleck to not only star in, but also direct the stand-alone film The Batman. Then in January 2019, he abruptly dropped out for reasons left largely unspecified.
Now Affleck tells The New York Times the decision was prompted by fears his drinking might do him in.
“I showed somebody The Batman script,” Affleck reveals in the feature story. “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 though again.”
The reference to “what you just went through” includes a mostly unhappy experience shooting Justice League, at the same time Affleck was estranged from wife Jennifer Garner, from whom he’s now divorced.
Affleck confesses, “I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart.”
The Oscar-winning director, who describes coming from a family with a history of substance abuse, had by then already spent two stays in rehab to address his drinking, and recently completed a third. He now candidly admits he’s an alcoholic.
“You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever,” says Affleck. “But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”
Affleck tweeted good luck wishes to The Batman director Matt Reeves after bowing out. Robert Pattinson will play the Dark Knight when The Batman debuts June 25 of next year.
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