In extremely disappointing but also very understandable news, Ben Affleck has decided to step down as the director of The Batman, the Dark Knight’s first solo film in the DC Extended Universe.
The decision was jointly made between the artist and Warner Bros., both sides looking for the best possible outcome for the project. Affleck will stay on board as a producer and the star of the film. The search for a new director is already underway.
In a statement Affleck explained his reason to leave the director’s chair, but confirmed he is still very much committed to the project:
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.
Despite online rumors that he was considering leaving the project, Affleck had confirmed in recent interviews that he was actively working in the film and that he would direct it and start production once he was absolutely happy with the script he was developing with DC Films head Geoff Johns.
Alas, the difficulties of both directing and starring in a film with this much fan pressure would have had a negative impact on its development. Like many fans right now, I’m appalled by this decision, but in the end I’ll support whatever needs to be done to get the best product and the best performance out there. There’s a silver lining in having Affleck stay as a producer as he can work with the new director in projecting some of his original vision.