Ben Affleck Says He'll Never Direct James Gunn's DC Films After Career-Worst 'Justice League' Experience

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Ben Affleck has had some major career accomplishments since breaking onto the scene in 1998 with a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting. But he's also very clear about what the lowest moment in his career has been.

The actor and director opened up in a lengthy new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he once again shared his "monstrous" experience making the Justice League movie, and doubled down about being done with DC Films in the wake of the James Gunn takeover.

"I would not direct something for the [James] Gunn DC. Absolutely not," Affleck said with certainty. "I have nothing against James Gunn. Nice guy, sure he’s going to do a great job. I just wouldn’t want to go in and direct in the way they’re doing that. I’m not interested in that."

Affleck added that "you could teach a seminar" on everything that went wrong with the 2017 superhero team-up. The production was plagued with trouble from the early stages, with creative differences on the script and story line. When director Zack Snyder had to depart the production following the tragic death of his daughter Autumn in May 2017, Joss Whedon stepped in and took over creative control. That change led to controversial and expensive reshoots and accusations of "abusive, unprofessional" behavior from star Ray Fisher.  

Ultimately, the budget ballooned to over $300 million, making Justice League on of the most expensive movies in history -- which only made the negative fan and critical response to the film that much more disappointing. After an online campaign from Snyder's passionate fans, however, Warner Bros. released the "Snyder Cut" of the film in March 2021 to much higher praise.

"Say what you want, it is my highest-rated career movie," Affleck marveled. "I’ve never had one that went from nadir to pinnacle. Retroactively, it’s a hit. All of a sudden I was getting congratulated for the bomb I’m in." Still, the experience soured him on "doing any of this again."

"I was going to direct a Batman, and [Justice League] made me go, 'I’m out. I never want to do any of this again. I’m not suited,'" he recalled. "That was the worst experience I’ve ever seen in a business which is full of some shitty experiences. It broke my heart... I started to drink too much. I was back at the hotel in London, it was either that or jump out the window. And I just thought, “This isn’t the life I want. My kids aren’t here. I’m miserable.”

"You want to go to work and find something interesting to hang onto, rather than just wearing a rubber suit, and most of it you’re just standing against the computer screen," Affleck continued. "That’s fine. I don’t condescend to that or put it down, but I got to a point where I found it creatively not satisfying... I don’t want to squander any more of my life, of which I have a limited amount.”

He did, however, find something of a positive experience in his final performance as the Caped Crusader, in the upcoming Flash standalone film. "I did finally figure out how to play that character [Batman], and I nailed it in The Flash," he shared. "For the five minutes I’m there, it’s really great."


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