‘The Batman’: Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke Will Have You Rooting For Villain

Despite the numerous directorial changes in the past few months, the anticipation for The Batman film starring Ben Affleck as the titular character continues to rise at a fevered pitch.

Fans of the iconic superhero were heartbroken when Ben Affleck announced in January that he will no longer be directing the film. But they can at least take comfort from the fact that he is still fully committed to portraying the Dark Knight despite quitting the directorial gig.

While fans are feeling nervous for The Batman on account of the seemingly contentious negotiations, they can take heart from the enthusiasm Magic Mike actor Joe Manganiello has shown in talking about his portrayal of Deathstroke, as reported by IGN.

Manganiello told The RI Magazine that his unique spin on Deathstroke could make the character “a great villain,” so much so that he even thinks fans might root for the master swordsman when he goes up against Affleck’s Batman in the film.

“This is my character, an exciting one, and has the capacity I think, to be a great villain,” Manganiello said. “And what all the great ones can do is polarize an audience. When I was a kid I always rooted for the villain. As a kid I think I would have rooted for him and I think fans will.”

Manganiello says that he chose not to watch previous portrayals of Deathstroke, who became a prominent villain in the second season of Arrow. He chose to focus on his own portrayal instead and make the character his own.

“I guess there was a TV show but I haven’t seen it. I won’t watch it. This is my character, an exciting one, and has the capacity I think, to be a great villain,” he said.

Manganiello also talked about his preparations for the role, saying that he is undergoing workouts specific to the character of Deathstroke, which involved Kung fu and chi gung training. He said that he’s trained with katanas.

Manganiello spoke highly of Ben Affleck and producer Geoff Johns in the interview, expressing his confidence in their abilities to put out a Batman film fans of the character are going to love.

“I’ve known them all for years and I’m very excited to work with everyone. Ben Affleck makes great films and he’s a great Batman,” Manganiello said. “Geoff Johns certainly is a really fun guy to hang around with and has a great grasp on this steering wheel that is the Titanic of the DCEU. Knowing what they have planned for the future, I think fans are really gonna love [it].”

Warner Bros. announced last month that War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves will be directing The Batman not long after Affleck quit the directorial job. Interestingly, there had been a breakdown of negotiations between Reeves and the studio beforehand, as reported by The Fandom. The official nature of the announcement, however, suggests that a firm agreement has already been made.

When asked about a statement he made last year claiming that The Batman might start filming in the spring, and about recent reports that there’s no script yet, Manganiello clarified that he only made the statement based on what he knew at the time and that the film is going through a “creative process” and everyone involved is doing everything they can to make the best movie possible.

“What we’re not gonna do is be backed into a start date, scrambling to get something off the ground just to get it off the ground. Everyone involved wants to make this the best film possible, so that’s really what it’s about. It’s funny how the media likes to run with, “Oh there’s trouble!” “Oh, the script needs to be revised!” They’re drama queens. There’s a creative process, and everyone on the cast and crew wants to make this the best movie possible. So that’s what we’re gonna do. When we start shooting it, we’ll start shooting it. It will be soon, I can say that. Here’s the thing: No one wants to create that superhero movie that’s polarizing to fans and critics. Rest assured, we’re gonna do this thing right.”

Joe Manganiello also assured fans that The Batman film will have a surprising “fresh take” that will satisfy viewers.

“It’s a road that no one’s really gone down that’s completely integral to, you know, who Batman is,” he said, adding that the film will be “refreshing but at the same time completely familiar.”

[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]