Every week seems to bring more uncertainty to Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero movie universe, and this one is no exception.
Academy Award winner Ben Affleck has decided not to direct the upcoming movie The Batman as was originally planned. The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice actor will still star in the film and serve as a producer on it, but will no longer occupy the director’s chair.
According to Variety, which first broke the news of Affleck’s decision, the studio has a shortlist of filmmakers under consideration to replace Affleck. One of the filmmakers on that list is rumored to be Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” said Affleck in a statement released after the news of his decision was made public. “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.”
The studio followed with its own statement on Affleck’s departure from the director’s chair, indicating that it “fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a stand-alone Batman picture to life.”
Featuring a script penned by Affleck and Geoff Johns, the recently appointed co-architect of the studio’s cinematic universe, The Batman is expected to pit the Dark Knight against Slade Wilson, the villain known as Deathstroke. True Blood and Magic Mike XXL actor Joe Manganiello will play Deathstroke in the film, with Jeremy Irons and J.K. Simmons portraying Alfred Pennyworth and Commissioner James Gordon, respectively.
Affleck will next appear as Batman in this year’s Justice League, but there’s no release date set at this point for The Batman.