Holy blindsides, Batman.
After news that pre-production had fallen behind, and reports of displeasure by both Affleck and executives with the current state of the script, Ben Affleck has announced that he will no longer direct The Batman. He remains onboard, however, as both star and producer.
“It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require,” Affleck said in a statement, referring to his directing and acting responsibilities. “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.”
According to Variety’s exclusive report, Matt Reeves is a leading contender to replace Affleck behind the camera. He’s most known for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the second film in that franchise reboot, and has been a past collaborator with J.J. Abrams including Cloverfield. He’s currently in post-production on the this summer’s upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes. Reeves is rumored to be near the top of a very short list.
DC had earmarked October 5, 2018 for an as-yet-titled movie, one that many have suspected would be The Batman, particularly given Affleck’s successes in October (from Argo to Gone Girl to The Accountant). Whether The Batman remains on course for 2018 remains to be seen.
This all, of course, comes on the heels of Affleck’s latest directorial / starring / producing / writing effort Live by Night bombing at multiplexes with both audiences and critics. It had the filmmaker’s biggest scale production to date, and the net effect may have been his final wake up call to stop trying to take so much on, particularly on a movie the scale The Batman will inevitably be.