It’s been a rough road for the DC movie universe – and now The Batman solo movie has lost its director. A new report suggests that Ben Affleck, who was slated to produce, write, direct, and star in the film is stepping aside. The news comes following a steady stream of reassuring updates on The Batman from the filmmaker while out promoting his latest film – while rumors of Affleck’s potential exit from the director’s chair loomed in the background.
Now, thanks to a report at Variety, we know that Affleck is officially stepping down as director — leaving fans to wonder who will step in and direct the solo movie as well as how involved in the DCEU this Batman will be post-Justice League.
In the meantime, Affleck has issued a statement on why he’s stepping down — suggesting that, out of respect for the role, he cannot dedicate necessary focus to serve as director, actor, and writer:
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”
For their part, Warner Bros. is standing behind Affleck’s decision:
“Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.”
The news that Affleck will no longer direct The Batman is sure to provoke many strong responses, both from those who’ve loved the DCEU output to date, and from those who’ve found themselves leaving the theater underwhelmed.
Despite the notably divisive reaction to last year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, one thing both sides seemed to mostly agree on is that Affleck performed pretty well as as the Caped Crusader, as well as his billionaire alter ego Bruce Wayne. That positive sentiment, combined with Affleck’s award-winning history as a director led many to believe that he was the right man to steer the Dark Knight ship going forward.
On the other hand, film history is littered with examples of actors turned directors whose on-screen work suffered, presumably due to stretching themselves too thin. Such issues would probably hold doubly true when trying to both direct and star in a big-budget mega blockbuster like The Batman. Based on his statement above, Affleck is clearly fully aware of such hurdles, which likely played a large role in him ultimately choosing to step aside as director. Now, the hunt is on for the person ready to pick up where Affleck left off.