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Ben Affleck recalls risky Chicago leap in new ‘Batman v Superman’

Actor Ben Affleck poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Batman V Superman' in London, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Invision/AP)

BURBANK, CALIF. — Asked about his portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Ben Affleck noted that “I can really relate to him in one way — he’s an actor, playing these dual roles in life. On the one hand he’s this billionaire, playboy philanthropist — playing the role so well, no one would ever suspect this guy could ever be Batman.

“Of course, he’s also playing this role as Batman. So, as an actor, I could relate to that idea quite a bit.”

While sitting on Soundstage #16 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, the actor and filmmaker also recalled one memory from filming the movie in Chicago — where a significant portion of the film was shot. “It was pretty much early on in filming, and I remember they have me holding on to this helicopter — and I have to jump down to the ground, and it’s a pretty long jump! i remember seeing Chicago’s skyline and thinking, ‘If we screw this up, this may be the last view of the world I ever see!” said Affleck with a laugh. “But, at least it was a good view. Definitely not too shabby. Chicago has a great skyline.”

The actor also recalled hat “it was pretty cold, but then, let’s face it — Chicago is cold with some regularity. It’s not uncommon for it to be that cold.” When reminded that as a Boston native he should be used to the wintry weather, Affleck zinged back, “Yes, but I moved to L.A. I wanted out from the cold. I’m over the cold weather!”

In this movie, a key theme is the effect the absence of a father figure plays an important role in moulding the characters of Bruce Wayne/Batman, Clark Kent/Superman and even (in a twisted way) the Lex Luthor character portrayed here by Jesse Eisenberg.

Addressing that, Affleck clearly reflected on his own family. “There is no more important bond in life. There is no more important job you’ll ever have than being a parent and trying to raise kids. You try to raise good people to be healthy and happy and have good values, and to be successful in whatever it is they want to do in life.

“It’s also a great joy. It would be impossibly hard work, if it didn’t give you so much joy — at least most of the time,” Affleck added with a wink.

“I have to say, I’m no looking forward to the teen years, and they’ll be here soon enough. I’m so enjoying my kids like they are now. They’re still little and at the stage where they still want to hang out with you. They still aren’t embarrassed by you.”

Before we split, Afflect also shared his thoughts about why these many superhero films continue to resonate with audiences. “Escapism obviously is a factor, but these characters have been around for a long time — since the the late ’30s. It’s seen America through thick and thin. The values represented in this stories and characters are still relevant. There’s stuff in the world that we’re afraid of. Things that make us seriously worried. There are events happening we have no control over.

“It’s a nice escapist fantasy to see these heroes who can stand up and handle this stuff —figure it all out and make it better.”

†Affleck’s adversary in this movie is played by Henry Cavill, who reprises his role as Clark Kent/Superman from “Man of Steel.” Hearing the mention of Chicago, as this reporter sat down to chat, the actor clearly recalled his time filming in Our Town. “What stood out for me was simply how cold it was. Now, it was just creeping into wintertime, so we didn’t experience the full force of a Chicago winter, but when you’re wearing the kind of outfit I wear as Superman — it’s not the best outfit to deal with the cold! It was not very well insulated, and trust me — it was definitely chilly! Between takes, you’d see me on the set wrapped up in my cloak trying to keep my hands warm before we started shooting again.”

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Amy Adams as Lois Lane in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” | Warner Bros. Pictures
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Amy Adams as Lois Lane in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” | Warner Bros. Pictures

†Since this was Amy Adams’ second outing as the iconic Lois Lane, it seemed fair to ask how good she’d be if she had chosen journalism as a career for real.

“Of the bat, I’d say no — I don’t think that would have been a path for me, except I do like getting to the bottom of things. If I had followed journalism as a career, I think I would have preferred to be more like a documentary filmmaker or an investigative journalist, because I think I would like to spend time really researching a subject.

“I’d have liked to investigate in that way. I love good stories, but as for so much journalism today — it’s so superficial. As an actress — or for anyone in the public eye, for that matter — it can be terrifying. Anything you say can and will be taken out of context and turned into a headline.

“So you have to take a deep breath, and hope for the best. … It’s just part of the job, and you simply have to accept it.”

†One of the other key journalistic figures in “Batman v Superman” is Daily Planet editor Perry White, again played by Laurence Fishburne.

The actor explained he turned to another famous friend as his inspiration for the role. “I based my Perry White on the late Ed Bradley from ’60 Minutes,’ who I knew and loved and admired and respected. He was a good model for me as Perry, because Ed was tough, and so is Perry.

“Ed was a brilliant journalist. He was a kind and gregarious man, but he also had a hard side — the kind of guy who, if need be, would say, ‘Shut up! Do what I tell you!'”

†It was clear Jesse Eisenberg got a big kick out of playing Lex Luthor in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“Playing the villain is a lot of fun. You get to do all these things that in real life would get you arrested or at likely killed quite quickly. There was no ceiling on what you can do when you’re playing a villain like Lex Luthor. You can’t do anything wrong because everything is grounded in your evilness. You can be funny, charming, amiable and also horrifying — all at the same time.

Interestingly, Eisenberg was never into comic books as a kid. “I never read them. Before doing this movie, I not only never read them — I didn’t see any of these comic book-inspired movies.

“But in my preparation for the role, I did read a bunch of comic books, and found they were fun to read. Obviously, I concentrated on the ones with Lex Luthor. For some reason he always seemed to be on the top of a building, giving a speech about giving money away to charity — then he’s in an office, trying to kill somebody.”