Ben Affleck Calls Working on 'Justice League' His 'Worst Experience' in Show Business

The 2017 Justice League film did not have the most glowing reception upon its release, and Batman actor Ben Affleck doesn't have a lot of positive things to say about it either. In a wide-ranging new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Affleck discusses a number of aspects about his life and career. When the conversation turned toward the often-maligned DC Comics film, the A-list star stated that working on Justice League was the "worst experience" he ever had.

"The Justice League experience, the fact that those stories became somewhat repetitive to me and less interesting," Affleck stated. "Yeah, I did finally figure out how to play that character [Batman], and I nailed it in The Flash. For the five minutes I'm there, it's really great. A lot of it's just tone. You've got to figure out, what's your version of the person? Who is the guy that fits what you can do? I tried to fit myself into a Batman. And by the way, I like a lot of the stuff we did, especially the first one [Batman v Superman]."

While he had nice things to say about his other appearances as Bruce Wayne/Batman, it was notable that Affleck didn't mention Justice League, and he had his reasons. "You could teach a seminar on all the reasons why this is how not to do it," the actor said. "Ranging from production to bad decisions to horrible personal tragedy, and just ending with the most monstrous taste in my mouth."

"The genius, and the silver lining," Affleck continued, "is that Zack Snyder eventually went to AT&T and was like, 'Look, I can get you four hours of content.' And it's principally just all the slow motion that he shot in black-and-white. And one day of shooting with me and him. He was like, 'Do you want to come shoot in my backyard?' I was like, 'I think there are unions, Zack. I think we have to make a deal.' But I went and did it. And now [Zack Snyder's Justice League] is my highest-rated movie on IMDb."

When asked if he thinks the "Snyder Cut" reached such towering heights "because Zack Snyder's fans are so intense online," Affleck replied, "Say what you want, it is my highest-rated career movie. 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. But 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.' That was the worst experience I've ever seen in a business which is full of some s—ty experiences. It broke my heart."

Affleck also addressed Avengers director Joss Wheson taking over filming, which was later learned to have been due to a tragic loss in Snyder's family. "There was an idea of someone [Whedon] coming in, like, 'I'll rescue you and we'll do 60 days of shooting and I'll write a whole thing around what you have. I've got the secret.' And it wasn't the secret. That was hard."

Noting how the experience impacted his health and sobriety, Affleck shared, "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 going, 'If this nuclear waste gets loose, we'll ...' 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."

He continued, "Also just, you're sweaty and exhausted. And I thought, "I don't want to participate in this in any way. And I don't want to squander any more of my life, of which I have a limited amount."

Finally, addressed the notion of ever possibly directing a DC Comics project in the future, Affleck made it crystal clear that he has no intention of pursuing that option. "I would not direct something for the [James] Gunn DC. Absolutely not. 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."