A year and a half after we heard Ben Affleck would direct himself in the next Batman movie—quite awhile before the major misfire that was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice—Variety says the deal is off. There was also talk of Affleck having written a "really cool" script for what's been dubbed The Batman.
Here's what the man who helmed and starred in Argo—the Best Picture winner at the 2013 Oscars—had to say about leaving the DC director's chair:
"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.”
Warner Bros. says it "fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life." Affleck had recently cast doubt about his level of future involvement with the project, telling publications things like, "If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it" and, “I’m not going to write and direct anything that I don’t think is good enough to be made.”
December's Live by Night, Affleck's fourth movie as a director, has grossed just $10.3 million in the U.S. and $8.7 million overseas. Variety's sources say the film's lackluster performance had nothing to do with the Batman decision, and that a new shortlist of directors includes Matt Reeves, of Dawn of/War for the Planet of the Apes.
Joe Manganiello, who will play villain Deathstroke, previously hyped up Affleck's The Batman:
"I think the audience is going to be surprised. Because it’s a road that no one’s really gone down that’s completely integral to who Batman is. And I think it’s gonna be refreshing but at the same time completely familiar. But it’s going to take this franchise in a direction that I think a lot of people are going to be really happy about.”
Last August, it was announced Affleck would direct and star in a remake of 1957's Agatha Christie adaptation Witness for the Prosecution.
Next, watch artists tell Fuse who they think is tougher, Batman or Superman: