Ben Affleck will no longer direct his debut solo Dark Knight outing The Batman after stepping down from the role to focus on preparing for the part.
Variety is reporting that Affleck reached the decision after drawn out talks with Warner Bros. and will now remain on board as both star and producer.
Studio executives are eager to ensure The Batman does not suffer a similar fate to previous efforts Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad which, while both big hits at the box office, suffered something of a mauling at the hands of the critics.
Instead, Warner Bros. will now look to bring a more experienced director on board, with War of the Planet of the Apes helmer Matt Reeves, who also directed Cloverfield, seen as an early front-runner for the job according to the report.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” a statement from Affleck read.
“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.”
Rumours had been circulating that Affleck was unsure about directing the film, while the performance of his most recent directorial effort, Live By Night, is unlikely to have helped matters.
The crime drama, based on the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name, was a box office flopped and received mixed reviews from critics, making it arguably Affleck’s first major stumble as a director following on from the critically lauded Gone Baby Gone and The Town.
Despite this turn of events, Variety is keen to stress that the decision to seek out a new director for the Batman movie has nothing to do with Live By Night’s failure and is instead merely about ensuring the film lives up to the high standards of the franchise.
“Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life,” a studio statement read,
Affleck will next be seen as Batman in the Justice League movie, which is due for release on November 17.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.