It’s bad new for Batman fans because Ben Affleck has confirmed he is stepping down as director of the stand-alone movie, just months before filming was set to begin.
The Oscar-winner had signed on to star and direct the superhero flick but, in a statement released Monday night, said he would give up the director’s chair to concentrate on his performance in front of the camera.
“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,” the statement said according to Variety.
“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.”
Ben, who is co-writing the script with Geoff Johns, will remain as a producer and was given the full backing by the studio following the announcement.
They had this to say: “Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.”
Only last month Affleck denied he felt any pressure over the Batman legacy.
“I respect all of those [Batman] movies,” he told Variety.
“Christopher Nolan did an incredible job, Christian Bale did an incredible job, Tim Burton did an incredible job. At a certain point you have to look forward and try to believe in your own vision for it and not be looking over your shoulder the whole time. I go into that movie with a tremendous amount of respect for the people who came before me.”
The 44-year-old first took on Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and again in last year’s Suicide Squad.
He will also appear as the Dark Knight in Justice League, which opens in November.