Batman returns! Ben Affleck walked back into the spotlight on Saturday, July 11, at Comic-Con International’s DC Comics panel — his first public appearance since he and wife Jennifer Garner announced their divorce on June 30.
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star, 42, joined director Zack Snyder and costars Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, and Jesse Eisenberg in San Diego, Calif., where they debuted some brand-new footage from the upcoming movie. Affleck, notably, was wearing his wedding ring.
During the panel, Affleck talked about his reaction to Snyder wanting to cast him as the Dark Knight, who has already been played by stars including Christian Bale, George Clooney, Michael Keaton, and Val Kilmer. “If I had thought too hard about the actors who had played this part before, I couldn’t have taken the job…I talked to Zack about it, I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ And he was like, ‘I have this vision and this idea for the guy and you’re perfect for it,” the actor recalled. “I said, ‘Well, what do you mean?’ And he said, ‘He’s at the end of his rope, he’s older, burning out.'”
Affleck also recounted a chance encounter with Bale, who played Batman in Christopher Nolan’s popular films. “I had this really weird experience where, before we started this movie, I was getting my kid a Halloween costume — my son, who is really into Batman, wisely — and we went to the costume store in Los Angeles,” he began.
“It was pretty empty, and I was in the aisle and I hear, ‘Oi…’ I turned around and it’s Christian Bale. And there he and I are standing in the Batman costume [aisle]. I said, ‘Look man, you know, you’re the best. Like, what do you think? You got any tips?’ He says, ‘Make sure you can piss through that suit.'”
Variety reporter Stuart Oldham shared a video from the panel via Twitter, showing the star taking his place at the table amid cheers from the crowd:
— Stuart Oldham (@s_oldham) July 11, 2015
As previously reported, the Argo director flew to California on Friday after spending most of the week with his kids — Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3 — in Atlanta, Ga., where Garner, 43, is filming the movie Miracles From Heaven. The Draft Day actress is renting a home there while she works; her ex is staying in the guest house.
Prior to Atlanta, Affleck was in L.A. for a few days. He arrived there from the Bahamas, where he and Garner went with their children to ride out the news of their split.
“After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce,” the couple said in a joint statement to Us Weekly last month. “We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time.”
In the time since the announcement, both stars have been photographed multiple times — Affleck in L.A. and Atlanta, and Garner on the set of her film. The Comic-Con panel is the first time either has attended an official engagement post-breakup, however.
Affleck was back to business as usual for the Comic-Con crowd on Saturday afternoon, but sources say he’s struggling privately. “This is just as hard on him and difficult for him,” one insider says in the new issue of Us Weekly, which details the issues that led to his split from Garner. “Any divorce is tough on everyone. He is leaning on his mom and close friends.”