Ben Affleck is the New Batman

Ben Affleck is the new Batman and that’s okay.

If you’re surprised or upset that Ben Affleck has been chosen to be Batman in upcoming film projects, it’s because you probably haven’t seen Argo or The Town. If you’re upset with Ben, it’s because you might remember Daredevil, or maybe it’s because you haven’t seen him in pretty much any movie, but know him from the tabloids.

There’s a huge and interesting lesson in this that applies to our business: people remember some old and distant version of you, and people remember the larger world’s (press and media) version of you, but if they’re not actively paying attention to your work, then they forget and discount all your other work.

That’s why you didn’t get the call back from that person you reached out to for more business. That’s why they laughed when you said you worked at insert company that’s no longer “cool” to work at because the media says it isn’t cool to work at here.

We struggle with our recollections being our perception of reality. The past is a fiction, created in part by your sloppy brain and in part by the echo of what’s been said by more than a few people that somehow filters into your perception of what’s real.

It’s all going to be okay. Ben Affleck will make a great Batman.

Oh, and please get my newsletter?

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  • Sharon Jackson

    I watched The Town recently and yes, that helps to see Ben as Batman who needs a certain ruthless detachment I feel. Not perfect but willing to give it a shot anyway.

    • Chris Brogan

      If you give Argo a view, you’ll see the mix. The kind of “broken” nature that Batman needs, as well.

      • Sharon Jackson

        Thanks, I’ll add to my list. Looking for good films to watch.

  • Raul Colon

    I think the fact that he is so underestimated will make it very interesting and might even bring bigger crowds to see the movie (even those that are supposedly upset about it).

    Heck he might fit a bit better into the old school Bruce Wayne character that used to be played in the TV Series.

    • Chris Brogan

      We agree. You’re right on my thoughts. : )

  • cv harquail

    Chris, thanks for sticking up for Ben –and for the idea that we should create room for ourselves and each other!

    I often tell myself and others to ‘reload the page’ when I feel like I should consider new info about a person or situation.

    I used to say ‘hit the recalc button’ but nobody remembers lotus 1 2 3 anymore. ;-)

    This is a key part of the human business challenge — seeing people as their full selves -and- looking ahead to where they want to grow.

    • Chris Brogan

      Oh Lotus. I got a lot of great promotion in my early phone company career from learning all these really lame hacks. : )

  • geofflivingston

    You are right, of course. We want to be judged for the present (Argo was fantastic) as opposed to the past (Pearl Harbor). And we have seen others like Robert Downey, Jr. pull this off! So I will do my best not to judge before the movie is released. I hope he plays it sans the Southy accent, though. ;)

    • Chris Brogan

      Hahahahaha about the accent. I did think of that. “Whatevuh, Jokah! I’ve got ya tuner on a peter sandwich right heah.”

      • geofflivingston

        Don’t serve me Manhattan chowdah!

  • Betsy Talbot

    Sometimes we only remember the distant versions of ourselves and limit our success before we even start. Make sure you aren’t focusing on your Gigli past when you’ve got a Batman opportunity ahead. :) Go Ben!

    • Chris Brogan

      That’s the hope. : )

  • mobileHolly

    Chris, thanks for this. I am really glad the director is giving Ben a shot at this.

    Sometimes people need a big leap to overcome the perceptions that others have made based on the past.

    This is also true of child actors on popular television shows. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the cable show iCarly, but one of the actors, Noah Munck, played a character called Gibby who often took his shirt off a lot ran around and acted very silly.

    Now he is a young adult and on social media and in person he is much too often called Gibby and asked to take off, and you can tell by his social media posts that he’s ready for something more considering he is a very good actor and also not a little kid anymore.

    Kudos on using your own influence super powers for good!

    • Chris Brogan

      I’m smiling because I really shouldn’t know Noah Munck, but @jcqly talks about him sometimes, because he was one of her favorites.

  • Muhammad Saad Khan

    I simply loved the way you jacked this popular and timely news trend. And i second Geoff. We all really want to be judged by our present but that don’t happen :( Well – Argo was an Ahhh-mazing Movie…and looking forward to forward to see Ben Affleck’s performance in contrast to his predecessor Christian Bale!

    • Chris Brogan

      Grateful that you’re one to call me out on it. Duh. I totally did this for Google juice. : ) I never write posts to be helpful. : )

      • Muhammad Saad Khan

        I didn’t mean what you have conceived from my words. I just appreciated the way you structured your post. I am a great listener and learner of you and the way you help us all with your writing.

        And i respect you like no one else :)

        I still apologize if my words have not been able to convey the real message.

        I hope you consider it!

  • Dino Dogan

    How can Daredevil be Batman. Daredevil is blind. You cant have blind Batman. Aint nobody got time for that. :-p

    • Erik Fisher

      Bat’s ARE blind. They use sonar. :)

      • Dino Dogan

        arrrggghh…you win again, you rapscallion.

  • LionelGeek

    Well done Chris. Posts like this are a great example of why you are who you are. So many people stop after a simple reaction, “Hey, I can see Ben Affleck as Batman, or most likely, “Ben Affleck as Batman will SUCK.”
    You, on the other had, go a step further and offer insight and rationale. I agree with you on this one, BTW.

    • Chris Brogan

      That’s all I have to know. : )

  • Chel Wolverton

    I’m torn. I will watch it and give him the benefit of the doubt, but on the surface (and yes I’ve seen Argo and love his acting as Jack Ryan) it still strikes me as an odd fit.

    • Chris Brogan

      How different is Jack Ryan from Batman? : )

      • Chel Wolverton

        MAYBE you have a point. Maybe. I’m getting there. Again, not totally against it, just having trouble letting it sink in.

        Every actor has bad movies. I never saw Daredevil so that’s not it for me.

        I wonder if post-Bale is triggering too much of a comparison due to the lack of time between recast…

  • The Franchise King

    Ben Affleck is an amazing actor. And, director. And, he was staying in a house near me for a few weeks when he was in Cleveland filming a movie. How do I know? Here’s How:

    My Mom’s friend was walking her dog in one of Cleveland’s prime locations to do so. A little girl comes up to her and says, “We have a dog just like that back in California.” 10 seconds later a couple (obviously the parent of said child) come into the picture. Mr. and Mrs. Affleck.

    Cool, huh?


    • Hashim Warren

      Way cool

  • Sarah Mason

    Great post, Chris. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ben will do as Batman. I think there’s something to be said too here as a metaphor for our evolution as artists. Ben had a breakout hit with Good Will Hunting (obviously showing his raw potential), then had a series of misses (Gigli came out in 2003, the same year as Daredevil, so, yeah, not the best year for him) but he kept working and getting better at his craft, giving the world Argo last year (amazing film with an understated performance).

    His Oscar speech for Best Picture provides more insight on what you talk about in your post — how much of Hollywood sort of gave up on him after some of those misses and how he had to keep working hard — believing in his own potential — to get to Argo.

    Thanks for writing this!

    • Chris Brogan

      While someone is forgetting about us, we can be busy winning.

  • Derek Overbey

    I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. People change (even Hollywood types) and you can’t judge a new book by an old cover. I wish more people would take a second look and not focus on what people were in the past. Nice angle in this post Chris!

    • Chris Brogan

      No question, skinny. : )

      • Derek Overbey

        You got it Mr. Kettle.

  • Erik Fisher

    Say what you will about Ben Affleck being cast as #Batman, I know he can nail the playboy part of Bruce Wayne for sure.

    Also remember: Christian Bale was a Newsie before he became Batman.

    • Brian

      I keep seeing that said re: Wayne and I can’t agree. Ben’s a great looking guy, but his looks (and especially his demeanor) are very much of an everyman quality, and not those of a suave billionaire playboy.

      Ben isn’t the type of actor that disappears into a character at all. Even in the Town, it was “Ben Affleck as tortured bank robber”, not a character. He has an affable quality to him that he can’t shake.

      I expect he will do a fine acting job, but this will be “Ben Affleck as Batman” and I don’t think that fits any version of Batman, save maybe the 60s one.

  • Meg Tripp

    Sometimes the most anticipated casting choices turn out to be flops, and sometimes the most panned ones turn out to be genius. The best part about this one is that it’s neither a central role to the particular story, nor is the role one that’s been played by a single actor over time… so the odds of messing up the franchise with one weird casting choice (if it turns out to be) are slim to none. The furor is all about *Ben*, not Batman or Superman (or the absence of Christian Bale.) Oh, Ben.

    People are stuck on Ben Affleck as a lantern-jawed, absurdly pretty, accent-slinging guy who had a spray tan to be in his ladyfriend’s pop video back in the day, and who is ultimately the less “dramatic” and “deep” of the Good Will Hunting boys. But this has served Ben *beautifully* over the years.

    Yes, there were likely a few parts he likely wanted a shot at that he wasn’t considered for as a result. But every time he does something brilliant, he’s a “revelation”. Every. Time. No other director would “shock” us with the genius of “Argo” after we saw “Gone Baby Gone”, but everyone was still gobsmacked.

    And while he might find that odd buzz of underestimation annoying, he shouldn’t… because his PR people love it.

    So that’s the lesson I get: let people think you’re not capable of, or not right for something all they want. Let them believe you’re too silly when you’ve got serious skills. Let them think you’re stuck in a mold you can’t get out of. Then work your ass off, deliver again and again, and keep moving forward. You won’t be the one who looks stupid in the end.

    • Chris Brogan

      Exactly so. Surprise them in the end. I like your writing so much. : )

  • Kim Court

    He will make a great Batman – the man is a stellar actor and an all around good person. Plus he’s smarter than most Hollywood actors – which makes him awesome in my book. :)
    *Disclaimer – the fact that he’s hot as hell as nothing to do with my favorable comment :)

  • janeleonard

    Interesting post and timely for me. I was working with a client today who told me he was well known in his sector. When I asked him what he was known for or how people would describe him, he struggled.
    He then told me stories from years ago, mentioning some of the people. It was as if he thought they were the same people from 3 or 4 years ago.
    I encouraged him to reconnect with the importsnt stakeholders and find out their current needs.
    thanks for the post, nice to be in sync with CB

    • Chris Brogan

      Great points, indeed. Go back. : )

  • Captain Actionn

    Affleck will be as good as Clooney and have the longevity of Val Kilmer. Bad choice.

  • Barry Chignell

    Still not convinced, not because of his previous work (Dogma for instance is a great film and he was very good in it) but more that he doesn’t seem to fit the Batman roll some how. I could be wrong though?

    Nice post :)

    • Chris Brogan

      He just has to be troubled.

  • Brock Butler, D.Sc.

    People, are we missing the point here? Forget Bruce Wayne, the point is that your reputation is at the mercy of the public’s collective, subjective brain. The subconscious brain has incredible computing power but is prejudiced, slow to change, and easily fooled. Everything you’ve written has been filtered by the subconscious brain first. Read some of Caidini’s books on persuasion.

    • Chris Brogan

      Precisely so. No matter what we think of us, there’s a lot of work getting old labels off.

  • jackinessity

    Who are you, again? Aren’t you that guy that you know, did that thing? A while ago? And stuff.


    • Chris Brogan

      And stuff indeed. : )

  • Douglas Karr

    I’ve seen Argo and the Town, still think it’s a lousy choice. But I don’t believe it’s because of Affleck’s acting. I don’t like the choice because it points to Hollywood’s laziness and risk adversity. Why not find a new actor to play the role? You’re telling me there’s no one else that could play it better at this point? There’s no actor waiting tables in Hollywood right now that could do a better job?

    • Chris Brogan

      Well, that’s a good perspective. : )

  • Peg Fitzpatrick

    Who knew I could come here for hot pics of Ben Affleck?

    I don’t pre-judge an actor to see if they’ll fit the part. That being said I saw the new Oz movie and did not enjoy James Franco, I didn’t decide until after I saw it though.

    This is interesting, people “not actively paying attention to your work,” I never assume that people have read my blog or know what I do for work. People are very busy and there are millions of blogs. If people read your bio, it’s usually once but they don’t go back and check for updates. I keep it fresh by not assuming that people know what I do and if I’m approaching someone for something, I let them know why and the context.

    • Chris Brogan

      It’s great that you keep it fresh, but my thought is more this: what if someone wants to work with you? Will they think of the Peg from 4 years ago and those offerings?

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  • mikedougherty

    I thought he was brilliant in Hollywoodland.

  • John Wall

    I think the script and director are a lot more important than who’s playing the role. I always shake my head when people say Brandon Routh ruined Superman. He showed up and read the lines, the script was the turkey.

  • Chris Stephens

    He was great in Argo and I think he’ll make a great Batman too. But a lot of it has to do with the team. In this case, he’s fortunate to have Zack Snyder and his team’s awesome vision for the Superman universe to set the stage. Then again, I really don’t want Jar Jar to try again.

  • thomsinger

    Chris- you bring up a point that people need to remember… not just about themselves, but in how they view others. It is great to remind people that they are being seen by people from actions in the past (and they have probably changed, grown and improved since then)…. but these same people who feel judged and not given a break for who they are now are most likely doing the same thing to others.

    A good post would be about how to give others a fresh look and a second (or third) chance from time to time. I was up for a chance to be the master of ceremonies at a tech conference and one of the people in the committee knew me when I was the marketing director for a law firm 12 years ago. He said “Thom is not right for this conference” (based on knowing me from a job a decade ago). I was hired anyway, and afterwards he told me “wow, I had no idea you had this talent”. This is a reminder to all that we can never know all that another person can do, and thus should not make full decisions based on a small glimpse into their window.

  • rose

    thanks for sharing~~

  • Dave

    A great Batman? I hope you’re right. I need to see Argo. I have Pearl Harbor on my shelf and watched it a couple of months back… it wasn’t that great.

    I find it interesting that they are introducing him in a Superman movie (at least that is how I understood it.) I wonder if they are doing this to introduce Ben as Batman to see how well he is received before they give him his own Batman movie.

  • Kim-Joy Villabroza

    I dont care about Ben Affleck acting or he is buff or whatever,Batman is an Dark and a Cold hearted Action Hero,he knows every Martial Arts Fighting Styles based on his Comic book character,he’s not a cry baby or goofly crimefighter!see how Ben Affleck as too stiff and lame playing Daredevil..R.I.P. Batman!

  • Kim-Joy Villabroza

    I dont care About Afflecks acting or he is buff or whatever,Batman is A Cold hearted Action Hero that knows every Fighting Techniques and a Master of every Martial Arts in the Planet.He’s not a Cry Baby or Goofy Crimefighter! Have you seen How Affleck played Daredevil?He’s too Stiff and Lame Playing that Character,R.I.P Batman

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  • Jessica

    I personally don’t believe that Affleck could ever be a better Batman than Christain Bale, he was the perfect charactor for Batman.

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