Also, Justice League will not have 2 parts, it’ll be just one movie.
When it was first announced that Batman would play a major role in the Man of Steel follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, audiences reasonably assumed that Warner Bros. would be forging ahead with a new iteration of the character despite the fact that Christopher Nolan had only just wrapped up his take on Batman with The Dark Knight Rises. Batman is one of the most iconic characters in pop culture history, so obviously Warner Bros. wasn’t just going to sit on that character forever—and then with the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne things got even more interesting.
Rumors swirled for some time that Affleck may or may not be directing his own Batman movie as part of the DC Extended Universe, and confirmation finally came earlier this year along with the news that Affleck is working on the script with DC Films co-head Geoff Johns. But when, exactly, can we expect this new Batman movie to be in theaters?
When Collider’s own Steve Weintraub was on the set of Justice League last week along with a group of reporters, Affleck was asked about the status of said Batman movie, and he gave a promising update:“I think they have a date for it. Although, I don’t know if I would necessarily be able to make that date because I don’t have a script that’s ready yet. So that’s my—my timetable is I’m not going to make a movie until there’s a script that I think is good because I’ve been on the end of the things when you make movies when you have a script that’s not good yet and it doesn’t pan out.” [laughs]
Affleck is well aware not only of the iconography of the character but also the danger of rushing into production on blockbusters to meet a release date, and the Oscar-winning Argo filmmaker is taking special care into ensuring that this Batman is the best version of the film he could possibly make:“I have a script, we’re still working on it, and I’m not happy enough with it yet to actually go out there and make a Batman movie, for which I have the highest of standards, I would say. That’s something that would have to pass a very high bar for me. It’s not just like, ‘Yeah, that might be fun, let’s go try this out.’”
In the meantime, Affleck is plenty busy. He’s in post-production on his long-awaited Argo follow-up Live by Night, also for Warner Bros., and the DC Extended Universe is certainly robust with Wonder Woman serving as a precursor to next November’s release of Justice League, which will be followed by The Flash and Aquaman. So while WB may have an internal date in mind for Affleck’s Batman, he’s not the type to rush these things, and he certainly has the clout to say “Hold your horses” if WB starts to get impatient. Long story short: the standalone Batman movie is probably Affleck’s next directorial effort, but it won’t move forward to production until Affleck is 100% happy with the script.
Live By Night, written, produced, directed and starred by Ben has had it’s release date changed to January 13th, 2017.
It’s been four years since Ben Affleck‘s Best Picture-winning Argo landed in theaters, and if you’ve been eagerly awaiting his directorial follow-up, good news, the wait just got a lot shorter. The prohibition era crime thriller Live by Night was originally slated for a prime, awards-friendly October 20, 2017 release date, but Warner Bros. has bumped the film up nine months to January 13th, 2017.
It’s an interesting move considering the original release date screamed awards contention, mirroring that of Argo, which landed in theaters on October 12, 2012, and leaving room for fall festival debuts and a significant campaign period. However, it’s still possible that Warner Bros. will position Live by Night as awards player by giving it a limited release in December of 2016. As we saw last year with The Revenant, arriving super late in the year does nothing to hinder a film’s buzz factor come Oscar time.
Affleck wrote, produced, directed and stars in the adaptation of Dennis Lehane‘s 2012 crime novel of the same name.The film also stars Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, and Brendan Gleeson and follows the rise of one man from petty thief to the Gulf Coast’s most successful rum runner in 1920s Boston.
Affleck proved himself a great fit for Lehane’s material with his Oscar-nominated feature film debut, Gone Baby Gone and initially planned to begin production on Live by Night in 2013, but pushed the project back when he got the opportunity to work with David Fincher on Gone Girl. The came a little role called Batman, and Affleck had to push the project back once again to make time for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck finally managed to squeeze into production late last year before rolling into Justice League: Part One, which is currently filming. Basically, he’s a very busy dude and at the moment almost exclusively busy with Warner Bros. work, so if the studio opted to juggle his schedule
Basically, he’s a very busy dude and at the moment almost exclusively busy with Warner Bros. work, so if the studio opted to juggle his schedule around, it’s most likely out of a shared interest in best organizing his time. If they are looking to push the film for the awards trail (and it seems unlikely they wouldn’t given the film’s original prime placement on the slate), it’s possible they want to put the film in contention for the 2017 race so Affleck will have time for things like Batman, Batman and Batman. After all, between filming there will still be promotional campaigns for Justice League and Live by Night, and Justice League: Part Two is still on the docket along with the solo Batman film he’s slated to direct.
Elsewhere, Warner Bros. also shuffled up the release dates for a number of other films, delaying The Lego Movie Sequel from May 18, 2018 to February 8, 2019, bumping back Dean Devlin‘s Gerard Butler-led sci-fi Geostorm to Oct. 20, 2017, to be released in 3D and Imax, and shifting the Owen Wilson and Ed Helms led Bastards from November 2016 to Jan. 27, 2017.
The first Trailer for The Accountant is out. The movie is set for initial release in October
Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.
Great news for the upcoming DC movies! Via Deadline:
DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has made a subtle addition to the Justice League braintrust. Ben Affleck, already set to co-star in the film, has signed on to become its executive producer as well. In that role, he will work with director Zack Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio behind the scenes to make the film the best it can be. It seems like a smart move, given that Affleck is already on the premises to reprise his Batman/Bruce Wayne character, and because he’s as strong a storytelling presence as Warner Bros has on its lot. He showed that with his writing/directing efforts Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo, the latter of which won the Best Picture Oscar for Warner Bros and was scripted by Terrio, who also won an Academy Award for the film. I’m told that Affleck is doing this to be supportive of Snyder, with whom he worked well on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which grossed $864 million worldwide despite not being beloved by the critics. Warner Bros is still figuring out its stylistic superhero mojo, and Affleck will help. Justice League is slotted for a November 17, 2017 release, and Affleck’s Batman is expected to be paired alongside Henry Cavill’s Superman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and likely Jason Momoa’s Aquaman.
Affleck, who followed his Batman turn by directing and starring in his scripted adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel Live By Night for an October 20, 2017 release by Warner Bros, is building toward a relaunch of the Batman franchise as a standalone. As Deadline revealed last Comic-Con, he has teamed with DC’s Geoff Johns to write the movie he’ll star in and direct.
The newest Suicide Squad trailer featured a wealth of new footage, as well as some new songs, but that wasn’t what caught most people’s eye.
What popped off the screen more than anything was the wealth of Batman scenes. In an exchange with Fandango, director David Ayer addressed the Dark Knight’s involvement, as well as when the film takes place.
“Just the right amount,” says director David Ayer when we asked how much Batman we’ll get to see in the film. As for when Suicide Squad takes place — before or after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — and whether it will acknowledge the events of BvS, Ayer was reluctant to go into details, simply saying “the answer to all of the above is yes.”
In the trailer, we see the bat interacting with Joker and Harley via the vehicle scene, but he also locks horns with Deadshot at some point, according to Will Smith.
“The Bat does cross my path… and, ya know, it’s not completely pleasant,”
Same goes for Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who plays Killer Croc. The actor has already teased some sort of interaction between the two. As for the timeline, in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the history between Batman and the Joker has already been established, and from earlier trailers it appears we see Batman saving Harley, perhaps from the Joker earlier in his career. The film’s probably going to time jump a bit, so the answer Ayer gave is probably right on the money.
Suicide Squad releases on August 5th.
In a village called Kibati, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, stands a brown single-room building. Inside, a cluster of men and women sit on benches in a circle. One by one women stand up and speak. Their voices are strong. Every now and then a joke is made and people laugh. Some women cry as they talk and hold one another. A man speaks angrily as he punches his fist into his hand. Children hide behind the legs of their mothers or sit on their laps. Babies nurse and then are passed off to fathers to sleep. Eventually, horrifically, the purpose of this gathering becomes clear: Every woman in this room has been raped. Every one. Even the ones that don’t come up to my waist.
There are girls here who can’t be six years old, and only slightly older ones carrying children of their own, on their backs and inside their bellies, some at the same time. They share their stories:
“I was walking for water at night when I met a man, and he dragged me into the woods and raped me. My parents wouldn’t let me back into the house after that.”
“At first I tried not to tell anyone what happened, but then I realized I was pregnant, and I had to tell.”
“I have to see my rapist every day. I feel haunted by him. I know he could come back into my house at any time.”
As shocking as it is to be in this room, the stories of these women are anything but unusual. The Congo has endured decades of civil unrest and instability; it has been called the rape capital of the world. More than 1,000 women are sexually violated here every day. Much of this violence is the result of 20 years of wars in which rape was used as a weapon, to traumatize women and to destabilize communities. So, no, what’s astonishing here isn’t the large collection of rape survivors in one place; it’s that these women have the courage to tell their stories—and to seek justice. This is a local chapter of Dynamique des Femmes Juristes, a grassroots organization that helps survivors prosecute the perpetrators. The testimony these women give today may help put their rapists in jail. Ten, even five years ago, that kind of retribution would have been unthinkable. But through the work of this organization alone, more than 125 women’s cases were brought to court last year.
And the person who helped make it possible? Ben Affleck.
Yes, that Ben Affleck. The same guy headlining the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice blockbuster. The same guy who made every tabloid cover when his 10-year marriage to Jennifer Garner ended last summer. But before all that, Affleck wanted to start something—something good. And that something endures every day here in the Congo.
About 10 years ago, Affleck was a new father (Violet was just a baby), with some major movies (Good Will Hunting, Armageddon) in his rearview mirror but nothing hugely professionally exciting on the horizon. “I felt like I was always chasing the next job, singing for my supper,” Affleck says. “I didn’t feel like I had anything that I could point to and say—and I know this is a cliché—‘I gave back; here are the footprints I left in the sand.’”
Around that time Affleck read Philip Gourevitch’s book about the genocide in Rwanda, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families. Moved, he began to learn more about the mid-1990s conflict and how it had led more than a million refugees to flee Rwanda for the Congo, triggering more tribal conflicts and a series of epic wars. Children were turned into soldiers and forced to kill one another and their own families. Sexual violence was rampant, with women raped and cast out of their communities in disgrace. By the time Affleck learned about the situation, three and a half million people had died. “And it was still happening,” he says. “And I didn’t know about it, and almost nobody in America knew about it.”
So in 2007 Affleck went on a fact-finding trip to some of the most conflict-ravaged regions of Africa, including Rwanda, Sudan, Kenya, and finally the Congo. “This was when there was still a lot of fighting and it was still a little bit scary—I expected to see people hiding under couches, metaphorically,” says Affleck. “But what I saw was people trying to work and keep their families upright. After the child soldiers and the sexual violence and the not-good-enough hospitals and not-good-enough anything, they were rising. I was blown away by that.”
And their stories were unforgettable. “I sat with a woman who had been raped multiple times before she was 12,” he says. “She said this to me like she was reciting a grocery list—like it was nothing at all. Can you imagine?” Affleck pauses. “I have daughters,” he says. “Ones I fully intend to keep away from all boys until they are 25, by the way. How can something like this not burn itself into my brain forever? How can we not do everything we can?” So he decided not to be just another guy who learned a terrible thing and moved on.
During the flight back to Los Angeles, Affleck and philanthropic consultant Whitney Williams had the first of many conversations that would eventually lead to the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI). The concept was simple: Create an organization that empowers Congolese people to rebuild their nation. “We thought, Why don’t we work with the people who actually know the militia or who have children who have been taken by them?” says Affleck. “And who know where the women are who have been ostracized by their villages because they were raped—why don’t we work directly with those people?”
Almost nine years after that trip, with the help of Williams (who would become his cofounder), Affleck’s footprints are now all over the country; ECI has funded more than 90 projects, in everything from farming cooperatives to vocational training. But Affleck has taken a particular interest in helping women. “The Congo has trillions of dollars in mineral wealth and enough arable land to feed a third of the world,” says Affleck. “But I have come to believe that the most precious resource in the country is its women. Congolese women are incredible—what they have been through? Forget it. I’d never survive it. Nothing puts my own life and circumstances into perspective like the lessons I learn from them.” ECI’s impact is growing: The foundation has funded programs that have improved health care for more than 23,000 women, have helped bring 600 gender-based violence cases to court, and trained more than 50 female journalists last year alone. “I think ECI is putting its money where its mouth is,” says renowned human rights activist John Prendergast. “There is lots of rhetoric about the importance of empowering women…[but] ECI provides critical resources to groups that are leading the transformation of Congolese society.”
Affleck and Williams now work with a team of 10, most of whom are based in the Congo. In the United States ECI promotes the potential of the region through creative projects and good old-fashioned diplomacy—Affleck himself has testified at congressional hearings four times. “People can have this view about Africa—that it is people lying around with flies in their eyes and distended bellies,” says Affleck. “But that’s just not true. These people want not only to live but to thrive and to succeed.” And that is what ECI is helping them do. “This isn’t sexy work. It’s really hard and long-term,” says Prendergast. “But it was pretty clear from the outset that Ben and Whitney were in it for the long haul…. I think as the Congo turns a corner in the coming years to a peaceful, democratic future, ECI will have been a major contributor.” Adds Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu: “Ben Affleck is helping Congolese women know their rights and fight for them. … He knows what should be done and what you have to work hard on. It’s not surface; it’s deep.”
After the justice center we travel to Goma, the capital of the North Kivu province, to visit AFEM, an organization supported by ECI that trains women journalists. The road is bustling with cars and livestock and men and women on wooden scooters called chukudus. We pass children playing with toys made from tin cans (an airplane, a guitar) and women selling everything from fruit to clothing to a pile of tiny, brightly colored coffins (I am told that there used to be many more coffins for sale, when things were worse). When we arrive at the office, I meet AFEM’s Goma program manager, an intense young woman named Douce. “For a long time bad things were happening in the villages, but nobody knew about it,” she says. “The reporters were men, and they didn’t report on women’s issues or sexual violence.” With the help of ECI funding, AFEM now operates all over the region and just launched its own radio station. During our visit, Douce asks me, “What is it like to be a woman in America? Do women get raped there too?” Yes, I tell her. They do. But now women in the Congo can do what women in the United States do: share their stories.
For the women of AFEM and elsewhere in the Congo, to have a guy on their side behind all of this matters. “It sends an important signal when men stand up on behalf of the rights of women and girls,” says Rachel Vogelstein, director of the women and foreign policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Male role models can make all the difference in changing harmful cultural norms.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations under-secretary-general and executive director of U.N. Women, agrees: “We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the passion, drive, and determination of all the women activists through history. But to go as far as we want, to full gender equality, that’s going to take the combined energy and will of both men and women.”
The Congo is a complicated place, and the work undertaken by ECI won’t be finished quickly, but Affleck, Williams, and the team at ECI aren’t discouraged. In recent years the Congo has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. “It is as simple as this: When there are pockets of peace, commerce thrives,” says Affleck. “I used to come home daunted by all we had to do. The contrast between Congo and my everyday life can be jarring. But now I see how similar we all are.… It’s not true that we can’t help change things. We can.” He pauses. “These women are such badasses. With a little help, there will be no stopping them.”
Genevieve Roth is Glamour’s senior special projects director.
Want to Help the Most Resilient Women on Earth? Here’s how.
Donate: Ten dollars to the Eastern Congo Initiative (easterncongo.org) helps fund the AFEM radio program and Dynamique des Femmes Juristes as well as maternal health care and school programs.
Snack: You were going to buy chocolate anyhow, right? Seattle-based Theo’s ECI chocolate bars (theochocolate.com/eci) help support the work of hundreds of Congolese farmers.
Sip: “Congo used to grow tons more coffee,” says Affleck. Now ECI has partnered with Starbucks to bring Congolese beans to select locations stateside.