Following recent signs of reluctance and nervous-seeming sound bites, Variety reports that Ben Affleck will not direct the upcoming Batman standalone project The Batman after all. The 2-time Oscar winner – and director of Gone Baby Gone, The Town, the Oscar-winning Argo and the recent flop Live by Night – debuted his iteration of the DC Comics mainstay last year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and is still attached to both star and produce The Batman, but appears to have official withdraw from directing the project.
In a statement, Affleck stated:
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.
Reportedly, Affleck and Warner Bros. came to this decision mutually. The actor recently completed production on Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League (which it expected to hit theaters on November 17th) – his third stint as the Caped Crusader counting a cameo appearance in last summer’s Suicide Squad. The Batman was reportedly written by Affleck and Geoff Johns and was expected to go into pre-production shortly. That timetable may almost certainly require some adjustments as the hunt for a new director begins; reportedly War for the Planet of the Apes helmer Matt Reeves is considered a top choice.
Watch this space.