According to Variety, Ben Affleck has backed out of directing The Batman, but will still star in and produce the film.
Variety is reporting that Affleck made the following statement:
There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said in a statement. “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.
While Affleck is citing his decision is based on the difficulty of both acting in and directing the film at once, this comes only a few months after The Ringer released an interview with American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis, who stated he’d heard rumors about script issues with the upcoming film. It should be noted that Ellis later walked back the comments after the internet seized on them, stating that his information was not first-hand and was not meant to be taken as news of the film itself.
I was having dinner with a couple of executives who know other executives who are working on the [forthcoming] Batman movie, The Batman,” Ellis tells me. “And they were just telling me that there are serious problems with the script. And that the executives I was having dinner with were complaining about people who work on the Batman movie. And they just said they went to the studio and they said, ‘Look, the script is … Here’s 30 things that are wrong with it that we can fix.’ And [the executives] said, ‘We don’t care. We don’t really care. The amount of money we’re going to make globally, I mean 70 percent of our audience is not going to be seeing this in English. And it doesn’t really matter, these things that you’re bringing up about the flaws of the script.’ So I do think global concerns play a big part in how movies, and what movies, are being made, obviously.
We’ll see what develops, but the Warner Bros. DCEU has been on shaky ground after critics slaughtered both Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, which both arguably suffered from fundamental issues at the script level. Geoff Johns, co-writer for this standalone Batman film, was also a co-writer on the upcoming Wonder Woman script, so that may serve as a litmus test for whether Warner Bros. intends to right the ship on these scripts.