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Warner Bros. warned Affleck about Batman casting backlash

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Actor Ben Affleck said the first reaction he read about his casting as Batman was an Internet commenter who wrote, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO." Actor Ben Affleck said the first reaction he read about his casting as Batman was an Internet commenter who wrote, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

It's no secret that the announcement of Ben Affleck's casting as Batman in the up-coming "Man of Steel" sequel nearly caused the Internet to implode on itself.

From idle death threats to outrageous claims about his acting ability (c'mon, the man is a Golden Globe nominee and Screen Actors Guild Awards winner!), finding a positive reaction to his casting proved to be quite the task.

But such a reaction was exactly what Warner Bros. tried to prepare the two-time Oscar winner for, Affleck revealed Monday on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

For the first time since the casting announcement nearly a month ago, the actor spoke about receiving the call from the studio, his reaction and the fanboy feedback he's received.

"Every kid should see their dad as a superhero," the father of three said.

Humbled, Affleck said the opportunity to play the iconic crime fighter is "so awesome. I'm so excited. ... It's a very hard thing to describe without giving away the story and giving away what it is."

Of course, Affleck has some pretty large Bat-boots to fill in that Christian Bale only recently hung up the cape and cowl after the release of 2012's massively successful "The Dark Knight Rises." The film was the final in a trilogy of films directed by Christopher Nolan, who set out in 2005 to tell the story of billionaire Bruce Wayne's struggle with the murder of his family and ultimately his own identity.

"Obviously you can't do what Chris and Christian did, those movies are amazing," Affleck acknowledged.

Instead, director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David Goyer will introduce a tired, seasoned Batman who will go head-to-head with a spry Superman, played by Henry Cavill. The film will follow the events of this summer's Superman reboot-of-sorts "Man of Steel," which saw Cavill's Clark Kent learning to deal with his supernatural powers and his role on his adopted planet.

"They called me up and said, 'Do you want to do this?,'" Affleck recalled. "And I thought, 'Well you know, I'm not 25. Are you sure?'"

The 41-year-old actor continued, "Zack, the director, has this incredible take on it. ... I thought, 'This is a brilliant way to do this, and I really know how to hook into this.'"

Once the initial excitement subsided after he accepted the part, Affleck said the reality of the situation began to set in and Warner Bros. tried to warn him of the inevitable backlash.

"The people from the studio were like, 'We're thrilled, we're so excited ... [but] listen, we want to talk to you because people go through this process and it's a little bit, you know, it can be trying,'" Affleck said. "We want to show you some of the reactions that past people who have been cast have gotten on the Internet."

He said, "So they send me people who were in these movies who did a great job, and people were like, 'KILL HIM!'"

Famously, in 2006, Heath Ledger also suffered major Internet whiplash when it was announced that he would play Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight."

"The Joker is a character that needs an actor with gravity. Not some little twerp who got lucky," one commenter wrote after the announcement of Ledger's casting in the follow-up to 2005's highly regarded "Batman Begins."

Perhaps more eloquently, another commenter wrote, "Hell NOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

This sort of reaction continued for nearly a year until Warner Bros. released the first official glimpse of Ledger wearing slapdash make-up over a terrifying Chelsea grin. As for his performance? He posthumously won nearly every award he was nominated for in that role, including the Oscar and Golden Globe.

"You can't [pass judgment] before the movie comes out. It doesn't matter what people think then, it matters what you think when you see the movie, obviously," Affleck said.

But despite a warning from Warner Bros. to avoid the Internet for a couple of days after the announcement, Affleck thought, "I'm a big boy."

"So I see the announcement," he explained, "I look down at the first comment under 'Ben Affleck is going to be Batman.'"

And like Heath Ledger before him, "The first comment goes, 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.'"

"We're going to be Luddites for a while, kids," Affleck said, jokingly.

In defense of the common Internet troll, the last time Affleck put on a cowl was for 2003's "Daredevil," which, along with his roles in "Gigli" and "Paycheck," earned him a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor.

Still, in 2006's "Hollywoodland," Affleck wore a cape as actor George Reeves, who starred in the 1950s television series "Adventures of Superman." For that role, Affleck was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.

It was after "Hollywoodland" that Affleck's career was once again on the up-swing as he directed his brother in the critically acclaimed "Gone Baby Gone" in 2007; and directed and starred in 2010's "The Town" and 2012's "Argo."

Given Affleck's proven chops in the director's chair, there are hopes that he may helm a standalone Bat-flick sometime after the release of the as-of-yet-untitled "Man of Steel" sequel. While he didn't address the possibility directly in speaking with Fallon, he did leave the table open for discussion.

"I really feel like I have a lot of opportunities now, which is really great," Affleck said. Nudge, nudge. Wink wink. Say no more.


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