The M Interview: Team Batman or Superman?
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which opens here on Thursday, will have fans rooting for Team Batman or Team Superman as the heroes clash
You can't really look anywhere at the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice press junket without being reminded to make a choice and pick a side, in what has been billed in the trailer as "the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world".
At the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, California last Friday, gigantic posters publicising the superhero movie adorned the venue's outer walls, pitting the two DC Comics icons against each other.
Journalists were asked to choose between Batman or Superman wristbands at the entrance and during the complimentary breakfast service, guests were given the choice between Superman or Batman-themed cereal.
During the press conference, English actor Henry Cavill, who reprises his 2013 Man Of Steel role as Clark Kent/Superman, was seated on US director Zack Snyder's right, while new addition US actor Ben Affleck (as Bruce Wayne/Batman) was placed on Snyder's left.
LEADING MEN: Actors Henry Cavill (left) and Ben Affleck pose during a photocall for the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film in Mexico City.PHOTO: AFP
Cavill, 32, went for a clean-cut look - a blue striped button-down shirt tucked into jeans - which was juxtaposed against 43-year-old Affleck's more laidback style of tucked-out button-down shirt with jeans.
As audiences prepare to watch "god versus man, day versus night, Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham" in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (BvS), opening here on Thursday, it boils down to choosing Team Cavill or Team Affleck in real life.
For franchise newcomer Affleck, his favourite part of filming was the first time he suited up as Batman during a scene with US actress Diane Lane, who portrays Superman's adoptive mother Martha Kent in both Man Of Steel and BvS. The pair played lovers in the 2006 film Hollywoodland.
"It was an unnerving day," Affleck said. "It was the first day of wearing the suit and being on camera and I thought, 'Am I really doing this?' But it was nice to have a friendly face there with me; I appreciated that."
Since Affleck was a huge Batman fan as a child, bringing the superhero to life also brought out the boy in him. When asked whether his excitement for the role comes from his little boy or adult hero complex, he could not decide.
"I have too many complexes," he joked. "I think I tapped into equal measure of my adult geekness and kid excitement. Every day there was something to kind of geek about. It was exciting every day."
For both actors, the thought of playing such iconic roles was daunting, with Cavill going to the "source material" to understand Superman on an emotional basis and Affleck having enough in the screenplay to hold on to and then use his imagination to try and build his version of Batman.
Actors (L-R) Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, and Henry Cavill attend the Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice New York Premiere at Radio City Music Hall on March 20, 2016 in New York City. PHOTO: AFP
"There's an awful lot of psychology in Superman... it's the one way you can find to crack the shell when it comes to playing the character," Cavill said.
"Especially in this movie where we still see the growth of Superman instead of the finished product of what we know and love from the comic books. We're still not there yet, but we're looking at the guy grow up.
"He has become this super man after discovering he was Kal-El in (Man Of Steel) and now, he's facing the second bad guy (Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor) and it's a tough outing for him.
"It's a psychological enemy as opposed to a physical one like (General Zod) was and we see him make mistakes and grow from them and learn from them."
Snyder, 50, said that BvS "pays homage" to Frank Miller's classic 1986 graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns (where both Superman and Batman are in the same universe), which Cavill and Affleck read as kids and used for inspiration.
Affleck said: "It turned the genre on its head. It changed the way I saw comic books.
"I was familiar with that idea for a long time and then I heard that was the idea for this movie and it was great because it's one of the great ideas in comics that hadn't been mined yet for films."
"I agree with Ben on that," Cavill said. "I knew that comic book, too. And it also showed the real relationship between Batman and Superman.
"That idea was nothing but exciting because we're opening up the cinematic universe for all of DC."
I tapped into equal measure of my adult geekness and kid excitement. Every day there was something to kind of geek about.
- Ben Affleck on playing Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The M Interview: Gal Gadot still in wonder over plum role
Previously known only for her supporting role as weapons expert biker babe Gisele in the Fast & Furious film franchise, Israeli model-turned-actress Gal Gadot is poised for her big Hollywood break with her role as Amazon princess Diana Prince AKA Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
The 30-year-old former Miss Universe Israel will be the first actress to play the female superhero on the big screen, after Lynda Carter's iconic portrayal in the 1970s TV series, and she is ready to fill such big shoes.
Gadot said at the movie's press junket at the Warner Bros studio lot in Burbank, California: "No, never in my life could I have imagined being an actress or playing Wonder Woman. Everything has just happened and I'm really grateful and love what I get to do.
"I'm still in denial since I'm so busy working. I have absolutely no time to sit down and enjoy the ride. It will take me some time until I really understand what's going on."
Getting the role was a total surprise to Gadot, who was not even aware it was this character she was up for when she was asked by Warner Bros to audition for an untitled movie.
It was when she was asked back to do a screen test with Ben Affleck that she realised she was being considered for a role that is part of what many comic book enthusiasts refer to as DC comics' "Holy Trinity".
She said: "When I got the call from Zack (director Zack Snyder), I think I went dead for a few seconds when he told me about the part.
"When I came back to life and then tried to pull off my best voice, like, 'Wonder Woman... yeah, yeah, I've heard of her'."
It would be another seven weeks before she was offered the role, which was "pure torture".
"I literally went through the seven stages of grief. For the first two weeks, I had a good feeling and then from then on I started to be angry and it was really bad," she said.
Despite what some fans might say about the casting choice, Gadot knows you cannot please everyone.
"(As) an actress, my responsibility is not to pay too much attention to the noise around me, but to pay attention to the script and director and then protect the character and try to tell her story the best I can."
Gadot, who is filming for her own Wonder Woman spin-off movie, due next year, stresses the importance of being a role model for both superhero-loving girls and boys, especially since she has a four-year-old daughter.
She said: "She adores princesses, and at the same time she will tell me that the princess is so weak, she falls asleep and the prince will come and kiss her and save her and he is the hero. So I'm so happy to be the one who's going to tell the Wonder Woman story."