Zack Snyder faced many obstacles to create his special cut for Justice League.
Yet, according to his wife Deborah, Snyder’s greatest challenge was filming the scene of Ben Affleck’s Batman meeting Jared Leto’s Joker, mainly because neither man could be in the same room together.
The sequence appears to take place in the “Knightmare” scene for Batman v Superman where Batman is wandering a ruined Earth.
As shown in a current museum display, this would have connected to Snyder’s Justice League sequel plans where Darkseid conquers Earth and Batman is among the few heroes fighting back.
Also included is the Flash (Ezra Miller), whose speed powers are crucial to going back in time to prevent this future.
Speaking to Hollywood Reporter, Deborah noted the chief issue of Snyder’s filming was the same as any production in the last year: Making a blockbuster project during a pandemic. This meant that none of the actors involved were actually on set at the same time.
Ezra was shooting Fantastic Beasts, so Zack directed him over Zoom. His crew was gracious enough to shoot him, and Zack piped in over Zoom. Ben and Jared (Leto) were not available on the same days, so they were shot separately. Ben was shot with the rest of the group (including Fisher, Amber Heard and Joe Manganiello).
We planned that in COVID around everybody’s schedule, but with the impending deadline. Those visual effects were the last things that we got done. It was only three days. And we probably could have shot it faster, but with all the COVID protocols, it just takes a little bit longer to get things done. And also to get up and running with everybody.”
Snyder added that while he wrote most of the dialogue for the scene, Chris Terrio aided in the final script.
Netflix responsible for the Snyder Cut
Ironically, some of the credit for the Snyder Cut goes to HBO Max’s streaming rivals, Netflix.
Deborah explains that Warner Bros was naturally wary of spending a reported $70 million to complete a movie meant for streaming. But Snyder was able to point out the success of Netflix’s model, proving fans would watch.
When we started talking to the studio about it, COVID hit right in the middle of our conversation. They were like, “Oh, that’s that.” And I was like, “No! the opposite.” We can do this remotely and all these artists, we can keep them employed for a time.
Then, to finish 2,650 visual effects shots, took some money. So we had to also convince them that it was worth it. CAA helped us put together some analytics of what our social reach was throughout the #SnyderCut campaign. We compared that to the top shows on Netflix, so we could then make the comparison of what the power of this fanbase was and how that translated into subscribers for HBO Max. Looking at it that way, gave it a why. When they were like, “Well, we don’t want to spend the money on this” and then you are like “OK, but, you do see there’s an upside.”
Warner Bros had announced the Snyder Cut as one of the early projects when HBO Max debuted last year, proving they had faith it would bring in subscribers.
While reviews for the new cut are, so far, mixed, fans remain excited to finally see Snyder’s vision of the super-hero epic on screen. Even if they never shared the same set, the Batman/Joker addition remains one of the biggest reasons fans may tune in for this special cut.
Justice League the Snyder Cut debuts on HBO Max on March 18.