Superhero Affleck

It has taken Ben Affleck years to lay to rest his past life as a smug, aspiring Hollywood leading man, and to re-invent himself as an Oscar- winning film-maker.

But you can imagine that smirk returning to his face - that same look he wore in movies as diverse as 1997's Good Will Hunting and 2001's Pearl Harbor - now that he is set to play Batman in Zack Snyder's Batman Vs Superman. Affleck has donned a cape before, playing Superman actor George Reeves in 2006 biographical film Hollywoodland.

He also played blind superhero Daredevil in the 2003 comic-book movie of the same name, a commercial and critical disappointment that led him to say: "I have innoculated myself from ever playing another superhero."

Obviously, he has had a change of heart. Publications such as The Hollywood Reporter and New York magazine say Batman Vs Superman is an unmissable chance for him to re-visit his acting ambition. Never mind that Twitter can scarcely contain the fury of fanboys who find him unworthy of the role.

Never mind that he may deserve to star in a better film. As New York magazine's Vulture blog puts it, "the man who directed the latest Oscar winner for Best Picture is going to be directed by the man who did Sucker Punch", the reviled 2011 action-and- lingerie movie.

Playing Batman opposite Henry Cavill's Superman in a Man Of Steel sequel, "Affleck gets to be a tentpole actor again without the tentpole actor risk", says The Hollywood Reporter.

After all, "Ben Affleck didn't come to Hollywood to be a great director", says Vulture, though he won an Oscar for last year's Argo. "Ben Affleck came to Hollywood to be a famous, well-liked actor and he clearly still wants to be."

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