Ben Affleck has stepped away from the director’s chair of WB’s The Batman, the upcoming solo film the Academy Award winning film maker is also set to star in.
In the statement released to Variety, the decision was mutual between Affleck and the studio in order to make the best film possible. The actor will of course reprise his role as DC’s Dark Knight and still serve as a producer of the film. He also penned the screenplay with Geoff Johns and recently completed filming his role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League at the end of 2016.
Here is the statement from Affleck:
There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said. “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.
From Warner Bros:
Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.
If Affleck was feeling the heat on directing the highly anticipated next Batman big screen adventure because he assumed too many above the line responsibilities, walking away from the director’s chair is for the best. The Variety report says the failure of Live By Night, the recent WB period piece Affleck directed, wrote and starred in, had no effect on the shake-up on The Batman. What Live By Night likely did was hammer in to Affleck the effects are on splitting one’s attention too many ways. The Batman is not a mid-range budgeted side passion project like Live By Night. To be both in front and behind the camera on a film that was likely green lit at $150 million or more that requires high octane stunts, extensive CGI effects and massive set pieces is no small task. The Live By Night experience may have made it clear to Affleck The Batman requires a director completely focused on directing.
Reportedly Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of The Apes) is high on WB’s shortlist to helm The Batman, which is targeted for a late 2018 or even 2019 release.