In a mystery worthy of the world's greatest detective, a rumor spread last week that Ben Affleck's solo Batventure, The Batman, is the latest in a long line of DC movies to suffer script problems and behind the scenes trouble — only for the man responsible for starting said rumor to double back on his comments.
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According to Bret Easton Ellis, the once-zeitgeisty author who found immense success with American Psycho (later made into a movie with Christian Bale — three degrees of separation, much?), executives in Hollywood who claim to have insider gossip say the initial buzz on The Batman suggests it might not be the modern classic we all deserve:
"I was having dinner with a couple of executives who know other executives who are working on the ['The Batman'] and they were just telling me that there are serious problems with the script ... They went to the studio and they said, ‘Here’s 30 things that are wrong with [the script] that we can fix.’ And [Warner Bros.] said, ‘We don’t care. We don’t really care. The amount of money we’re going to make globally, I mean 70 percent of our audience is not going to be seeing this in English. It doesn't really matter'."
Although on the one hand execs at movie studios are known to prioritise money above quality (Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara has a background entirely in marketing rather than filmmaking), this particular rumor seems unlikely when you consider how much the studio meddled with Suicide Squad in an attempt to transform it into a better movie (we all know how that worked out).
Then again, it's possible that Ben Affleck has been given free reign to do more or less whatever he wants with the script, seeing as he's also directing. More likely, honestly, is that these "execs who know execs" are talking smack. Ellis, to his credit, offered clarity on the earlier comments about The Batman:
"The two executives I was having dinner with were relating the problems they had heard about the script from people working on [The Batman]—that’s all. I know no one involved with the Batman movie and I didn’t realize that my comments would make it into the Ringer piece ... I have no idea what the Batman script is like and I regret that it came off as if I was disparaging the project. Another reason to be careful during interviews."
If that sounds a lot like somebody at Warner Bros. got on the phone with Ellis and threatened a lawsuit (or did it in an email which will probably leak in six months), well, who am I to comment? But as the Forbes writer Mark Hughes observes in the light of fresh speculation about the DCEU...
So, what have we learned today? The Batman has a script which may or may not be a mess, and everybody is still real thirsty for some hot gossip on the DCEU. The song plays on and on.
The Batman is set to begin shooting in Spring and hit theaters October 2018. Click to read everything we know so far about Affleck's solo movie.
Do you have faith in Ben Affleck to deliver an epic Batman movie?