If you thought the failure of Live by Night would force Ben Affleck into directing The Batman, think again. Variety reports that Affleck has decided to step down as the director even though as recently as January 10th he said he was still on board and just needed time to get the script right.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said in a statement. “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.”
While this may be a bit of a bummer to fans, remember that if the director isn’t passionate or confident in what he’s doing, then it benefits no one. I don’t want to see Affleck try to do a Batman movie because he’s forced to or because he thinks it’s a good career move. I want to see him direct it because he thinks he has the best take on the character and the right story to tell. If he’s not in the right headspace to make the movie, then he shouldn’t do it. Furthermore, THR reports that Affleck and executives had been unhappy with the script for weeks.
The question now becomes, “Who directs The Batman?” On the one hand, Warner Bros. has largely leaned towards people they trust, as they do with most of their projects. Zack Snyder (Justice League) and James Wan (Aquaman) have delivered big for the studio in the past. That being said, other superhero films haven’t been without their problems. Wonder Woman lost Michelle MacLaren before nabbing Patty Jenkins and The Flash has burned through Seth Grahame-Smith and Rick Famuyiwa.
Although I’m sure there will be plenty of speculation in the days to come, I’d put my money on The Accountant helmer Gavin O’Connor to get the gig. He’s experienced; he’s worked with Affleck and Warner Bros. before; and he’s shown he can do action films. O’Connor is currently attached to a Green Hornet reboot for Paramount and he also recently replaced Matt Damon to helm Father Daughter Time, so it’s far from a done deal, but if the scheduling works out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Warner Bros. choose O’Connor.
We’re hearing that Warner Bros. is actively meeting with people to try and figure out who will direct the project, and we expect an announcement very soon.