Clay Enos
July 03, 2015 at 10:01 PM EDT

Batman is a sacred role. I mean, this isn’t kid’s stuff. It’s not like just anyone can put on a mask with pointy ears, act with their chin, and growl things like “Where’s Joker?” and “I’m the goddamn Batman.”

When it was announced that Ben Affleck would be the fifth actor ever to play the character on the big screen — sixth if you count Adam West in the 1966 movie based on the TV series — there was somewhat more than the expected speculative grumbling on the part of the Comic-Con chattering classes. Some wondered whether the filmmakers had made the right choice, and Affleck was one of them. “My first reaction was, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Affleck says. “At the time I was 40, 41, and had just finished Argo, and I felt like ‘This seems like a strange way to get to Batman.’ But Zack convinced me.”

He says that the film plays up Batman’s age, as well as the dissolute cad side of Bruce Wayne. “He really keeps up the image of the playboy, actively,” he says. “So you have more of a dichotomy which I thought was really fun, and a little sad, like the aging playboy.”

Another reason Affleck took the gig: It’s been awhile since he’s been in a production this big and he wanted to see how the gears turn on the inside. “I thought if I was going to direct a movie like this, which I would like to do at some point, I need to have something of a refresher course of how these movies are done,” says Affleck, who has been recently rumored to be in the running to direct himself in a standalone Batman movie.

Hopefully by that point, both he and audiences will have accepted him as their Caped Crusader.

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