Turns Out Ben Affleck Blinded Himself To Play Daredevil
Daredevil is back in the cultural radar thanks to the fact that he and She-Hulk will soon co-star in a superpowered remake of 1998's Ally McBeal/The Practice crossover (we're assuming the younger among you learned about that important world event in history class). So, let's use that as an excuse to look back at the time Daredevil was played by master thespian Benjamin G. Affleck, whose performance was so great that he made you feel like he was blind for real.
As it turns out, there was a good reason for that: he was blind for real. As in, he actually couldn't see sh*t while shooting the scenes, at least when he was unmasked.
See (pun intended), Affleck was so committed to the role that he decided to blind himself -- not by locking himself in a bathroom for a week with a stack of Penthouse magazines, as you understandably guessed, but by wearing opaque contact lenses that simply didn't let him see. At the time, he said:
"The big cheat for me was that I was able to use these contact lenses, which were completely opaque, which I couldn't see out of at all, which meant that I didn't have to consciously act blind. It just sort of took that away. So then the challenge was just not walking into furniture."
We're taking this to mean that there's a 30 minute blooper reel somewhere out there that's just Affleck bumping into things, nearly destroying expensive cameras, and obliviously walking into comical Mr. Magoo-type misunderstandings. Perhaps his Daredevil would be more fondly remembered today if the movie ended with a fast forward montage of that stuff set to "Yakety Sax" over the credits.
What's more, in a 2018 documentary about disability in cinema, Affleck admitted that learning how it feels to live like a blind person was actually "the most interesting part" of Daredevil for him. "A lot of the other stuff was kind of silly," he said, and he didn't even have to do a scene where Matt Murdock twerks with She-Hulk and Kylie Jenner (or whatever ends up happening in the crossover episode that'll make half the internet have a meltdown).
Incidentally, Affleck's successor Charlie Cox also tried to take the method acting approach to playing a blind man for Netflix's Daredevil show, but that lasted like a day. He went to a specialist who made him some contact lenses that look exactly like his eyes (since the stereotypical "white eyes" look from the movie is actually rare in reality) and thought, "great, I'll do that and I don't have to do any acting." Then problem was that he needed someone to come fetch him and sit him down like an old grandma after every take, so by the second day he could tell this would get old fast. He told Esquire:
"I had these contact lenses made that looked like my eyes but I couldn’t see out of them. The difficulty with that is that I then became a nuisance on set. After every take, someone had to come and sit me down so I wasn't in the way. After a couple of days of that I was like 'nah, this is bullsh*t.' So I started to act it instead, which I think worked better."
So if Cox's performance feels vastly different to you than Affleck's, that's because it is a performance. Bet Cox didn't even marry and divorce any of his co-stars either. Way to half-ass it, man.
Thumbnail: 20th Century Studios, Marvel Studios