NEW YORK — Ben Affleck hopes Batman fans who were skeptical of him playing the caped crusader in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” realize how seriously he took the role.

“The most difficult thing about making this movie, honestly, was the physical aspect,” Affleck said Sunday on the red carpet for the film’s New York premiere at Radio City Music Hall. Affleck said he wanted to be in shape, so he worked out hard.

“Having to be in the gym every day, 6 in the morning … I wasn’t used to that kind of workout regimen,” Affleck said. “Fans have come to expect that if you’re going to play a superhero, you got to look in the body like a superhero. I knew the camera was going to be looking at me and the guillotine was there so I knew I had to be ready.”

When Warner Bros. made the announcement nearly three years ago that Affleck would play Batman, some fans weren’t thrilled, and the backlash led to petitions asking the studio to remove him.

Eventually it blew over, and the two-time Oscar winner feels proud to be part of the Batman legacy.

“I’m really honored to be part of a tradition that Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan, great talents, worked on. Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Tim Burton, great talents. So I just wanted to do my best. I think we did something different, but something that is still very much Batman,” Affleck said.

Co-star Jesse Eisenberg shared a similar experience when he was cast as Superman’s arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor.

Eisenberg said he empathized with his critics.

“I can assure them as critical as they are of me, I’m more critical,” he said.


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