Ben Affleck will not direct a solo Batman movie, according to Variety. He will, however, still be reprising his role as Batman, also known as Bruce Wayne. He will also remain as a producer on the project.
In a prepared statement, Affleck said: “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.”
Really, this sounds like an incredibly reasonable decision. Affleck knows what he’s talking about. A few years ago he directed The Town, in which he also starred, though that was a smaller-scale crime drama. Recently he starred in and directed Live by Night, by all accounts a more ambitious crime thriller.
Before that was completed, he starred in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which gave him first-hand experience with all that’s expected of a director on a massive production like that. To reinforce the impression, he recently completed work on Justice League.
Weighing all the factors over the past few months, he’s decided to step aside. The question now becomes, who will step in and take over a project that is very important for the DC Comics cinematic universe?
Reportedly, Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) is on a short list of replacement directors. Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic) is also rumored to be on that list, according to Deadline.
Affleck planned to start preproduction this summer, so there’s still time to make a good decision and select the best candidate possible. If not the more experienced Reeves, or perhaps Ross, who do you think could or should helm the forthcoming blockbuster?