Ben Affleck, who first starred as Batman as a part of the DCEU in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, and will be in the upcoming Justice League, will no longer be directing the standalone Batman film. The news comes months after the studio first hinted during this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con that the actor would get behind the camera of his own superhero film. That was followed by countless Affleck dodging questions during his junkets for The Accountant and Live By Night. Just a few weeks ago, the actor insisted that he was going to direct the film.
But now comes word that he “cannot do both jobs to the level they require.” His and Warner Bros. statement is below.
Per Variety and THR, Affleck will continue to stay on as the film’s star and producer. However, he feels as though he will not be able to direct and star simultaneously. Here’s what he had to say:
“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.”
In a joint statement, Warner Bros. said they fully support “Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.”
Affleck and Geoff Johns have both been hard at work writing the script. Affleck has said that he wouldn’t commit to directing if he didn’t crack the script. So his comments a few weeks ago where he said he would direct seemed to be lip service to calm down fans.
The news comes after WB reportedly took a $75 million loss on Affleck’s recent film Live By Night. That number does not including the marketing campaign and distribution. While that may look like it could be the source of Affleck and WB’s problem, it’s not. The actor has brought them Oscar gold for his work on Argo and other films like Gone Baby Gone and The Town proved to be box office hits. And despite the two DCEU films of 2015 being critically panned, the film still managed to make some cash, and that is thanks in part to Affleck’s role.
But the film does not come without its baggage. The DCEU has constantly been plagued by behind-the-scenes issues. In regards to the standalone Batman film, Bret Easton Ellis said “the film has some serious script issues.” While Ellis quickly backtracked on his comments, it only fueled the fire. Bvs and Suicide Squad have all been criticized for its length, plot holes, and tone. Some of those problems can be traced back to reported studio interference. Even Suicide Squad‘s David Ayer said he wished he had done some things differently.
[Source: Variety | THR]