Continuing the “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” trend, Ben Affleck released a statement last night that he will not, after all, direct The Batman, the stand-alone Bat-movie he’s been developing. There were already questions about what is actually going on with this movie, and now it seems like The Batman could be suffering the same kind of indecision plaguing The Flash. DC’s “director first” approach sure is resulting in the loss of a lot of directors.
Affleck’s statement reads: “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.”
Amazingly, I don’t think the $75 million loss of Live By Night has anything to do with this. There was Bat-waffling happening before that movie even came out, and Affleck is still fully vested as a producer. And his script, co-written with DC Films chief Geoff Johns, is still on the table—although a new director could bring their own writer to work on it. (Story problems. This reeks of story problems.) Affleck vacating the director’s chair really does seem to be about the enormous task of directing one of these movies—they’re beasts to put together and see through to the end, but starring in a superhero movie requires a lot of commitment, too. And Affleck has proven to have trouble directing himself—his best movie as a director is still Gone Baby Gone, the one he doesn’t star in.
As for who will replace Affleck in the director’s chair, Variety says War for the Planet of the Apes—Jesus that’s a lot of title—director Matt Reeves in on the short list. Deadline adds Captain Fantastic’s director, Matt Ross, to the list. At this time, there is no word on whether or not Warner Brothers and DC Films will consider anyone other than a white guy for the job.