In a continuing trend for the DC Extended Universe, yet another upcoming property has lost a director. Wonder Woman was the first to lose a director – not counting the huge amount of directors who each had a vision for Superman before Snyder took over – when Michelle MacLaren left the picture, and Patty Jenkins stepped in. Then the Flash solo movie lost not one but two directors, as both Seth Grahame-Smith and Rick Famuyiwa left the picture, which has now gone back to a page one rewrite. All three directors left these pictures citing creative differences, another ongoing trend with Warner Bros. and DC Films. This week yet another director has left the hot seat, but this time it seems to be for a good reason
Ben Affleck, who was slated to both star in and direct the upcoming Batman solo film, has stepped down as director. He will continue in the role of Bruce Wayne and Batman that he’s played in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and the upcoming Justice League – both helmed by Zack Snyder. While this initially seems like a worrying move from Affleck in light of past events with DC Films, the star released a statement about his departure that outlines his reasons:
“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.”
We can certainly get behind the actor wanting to put all of his energy into the performance of one of the most popular literary characters ever created, but we can’t help but feel a little disappointed that we won’t also get that energy behind the camera. Especially following his past directorial successes with The Town, Gone Baby Gone, and Argo. His latest film Live by Night hasn’t made as big of a splash in theaters since it’s recent release, so one has to wonder if that experience could be an influence on his current decision.
There are already a few names being rumored for the directing gig, like Matt Reeves, Denis Villeneuve, Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic), Gavin O’Connor, and even George Miller, who almost was the first to bring the JL to the big screen years ago with Justice League: Mortal. O’Connor and Affleck worked together on last year’s The Accountant, which could mean another collaboration is in their future. Villeneuve most recently wowed audiences with Arrival, but has a pretty full plate coming up with Blade Runner 2049 and a possible adaptation of Dune. Reeves has been pretty entrenched with the Planet of the Apes franchise, but seems to be a fan favorite for the position. At least he was until another name was thrown into the ring by the fans.
That name is Kevin Smith, the cult-favorite director who has experienced some critical acclaim recently due to his TV work with The Flash and Supergirl, among others. Of course, Smith and Affleck go way back as well, having worked together for years on a number of films, so the idea that the two could team up with their combined passion for Batman on this film is definitely exciting. Unfortunately, Smith responded to the fans with a simple tweet that put his involvement in the film in perspective:
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) January 31, 2017
So the question remains, just who should direct the Batman standalone? Stay tuned to GEEK for more news as it develops.
Images: DC Comics, Miramax, Warner Bros.