Bret Easton Ellis called Ben Affleck's THE BATMAN script a mess… then says maybe it isn't

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One of the things I’ve learned during my time as a writer at TheMovies is that comic book fans are a passionate bunch when it comes the movies based on their beloved medium, picking up and dissecting the faintest rumours surrounding them – and anything related to the Ben Affleck-directed The Batman is going to get every beady little eye focused on it.

Author and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis appears to have learned that lesson too. Last week, during an interview with The Ringer (and via Slashfilm) for an article on the current state of the movie industry (which is a good read if you’re interested), he threw the bat among the penguins by stating he’d heard there were numerous issues with The Batman‘s script and that Warner Bros. weren’t all that interested in fixing them, saying:

“I was having dinner with a couple of executives who know other executives who are working on the [forthcoming] Batman movie, The Batman,” Ellis tells me. “And they were just telling me that there are serious problems with the script. And that the executives I was having dinner with were complaining about people who work on the Batman movie.

And they just said they went to the studio and they said, ‘Look, the script is … Here’s 30 things that are wrong with it that we can fix.’ And [the executives] said, ‘We don’t care. We don’t really care. The amount of money we’re going to make globally, I mean 70 percent of our audience is not going to be seeing this in English.

And it doesn’t really matter, these things that you’re bringing up about the flaws of the script.’ So I do think global concerns play a big part in how movies, and what movies, are being made, obviously.”

Oh boy, that really doesn’t sound good does it? Anything related to The Batman is big news and that comment was picked up by numerous movie sites, causing a minor storm on the internet – but not us because we believe strong in journalistic integrity and don’t report on hearsay we can’t independently verify. Hah! Just kidding! It was the weekend and we weren’t working. Why are you looking at me like that, Kervyn?

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And it’s probably just as well we didn’t because Ellis has quickly semi-backtracked on what he said with a comment on his Facebook page, clarifying that he was just repeating a rumour that he’d heard and that neither he, nor the people he was speaking to, had any direct knowledge on potential issues with the movie:

During a long interview with The Ringer’s Sean Fennessey we talked about reasons why studio movies are so bad now and touched on the global needs of the marketplace.

I told him something I had heard about the new Batman movie as an example of what might be the problem: I was talking with two executives who have NOTHING to do with the Batman movie and who KNEW people who were involved with the production. The two executives I was having dinner with were relating the problems they had heard about the script from people working on the Batman project–that’s all.

I know no one involved with the Batman movie and I didn’t realize that my comments would make it into The Ringer piece or else I wouldn’t have cited that particular movie–I have no idea what the Batman script is like and I regret that it came off as if I was disparaging the project. Another reason to be careful giving interviews.

Yes, the interview is the problem. I regularly repeat unsubstantiated gossip during interviews and am constantly surprised it’s repeated. Silly interviews, it’s all your fault!

Read  Brett Cullen to play the role of Thomas Wayne in Joker Origin movie

Facetiousness aside, this really does seem like a storm in a tea cup to me. Reading both comments together it sounds like a bunch of guys were talking crap at a party and trying to impress one another with “insider” knowledge, and it accidentally got out and now it’s damage control time.

I don’t believe for a moment that Warner Bros. aren’t interested in making a good Batman movie because non-English (and presumably non-American?) audiences apparently don’t care about “good” movies, and will watch and be happy with any old drivel. That actually sounds incredibly condescending towards the entire non-English speaking movie audience

And we only have to look at the latest Fantastic Four movie and Suicide Squad to see how the above-mentioned executives can “fix” script issues, so I’d take that with a big ol’ line block of coke salt too. So my advice would be to forget about this, wait for the movie, and judge for yourself… after reading our review of course. I heard that this time we won’t have to watch Uncle Ben and Aunt May die in the alley again. Did I get that right?

What do you think?

Last Updated: November 7, 2016

Trevor Davies

I like pie, I think.

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