UPDATE: One interesting bit of information surrounding Ben Affleck’s stepping down as director of The Batman that we overlooked in our initial report comes courtesy of Deadline, who noted in their own report that the film recently received a script rewrite from Justice League writer Chris Terrio, who also penned Affleck’s Best Picture-winning Argo. While no insight has been given as to why Terrio was brought on board, Affleck had previously voiced concerns in regards to the workload of directing, writing, producing, and starring in The Batman, so one would assume Terrio was brought in to help get the script on track and also help manage Affleck’s workload a bit.
Original Story: Ben Affleck is officially stepping down as director of The Batman, but will still serve as producer and star of the upcoming DC Universe film.
As reported by Variety, sources close to the actor said that Affleck and Warner Bros. came to the decision together after discussing how best to proceed with the project.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said in a statement. “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.”
Sources have also confirmed that the decision has nothing to do with the recent disappointment of Affleck’s film Live by Night and was made based solely on what was best for the film.
“Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life,” the studio said in a statement.
Affleck and Warner Bros. are set to begin their search for a new director and already reportedly have a shortlist together, with War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves said to be a frontrunner.
This news follows speculation over the last month or two that Affleck was considering leaving the director’s chair, as comments made by the actor seemed to indicate that he was frustrated with how the script was coming along. It now looks like Affleck is solely focused on his acting role and has already completed work on Justice League, which opens Nov. 17. The Batman is expected to start filming this summer.
Honestly, I find myself conflicted by this news. On the one hand, Affleck’s involvement as director was probably the main reason I was looking forward to The Batman, as he’s proven himself to be an even better filmmaker than actor thanks to the triple threat of Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo (Live by Night could just be an anomaly). On the other hand, it’s not like Affleck isn’t still heavily involved in the creative process and if Warner Bros. can lure a talented filmmaker to the film, The Batman could still be one of DC’s more interesting superhero films.
Besides, wouldn’t it have just seemed a bit ridiculous to have Affleck calling all the shots while wearing the Batman suit on set?