It’s not like Ben Affleck has never directed himself before. Seriously, just take a look at some of his more high-profile projects like The Town, Argo and his most recent film, Live By Night.
Yet, when it comes to The Batman, Affleck has come to realize he just can’t play Bruce Wayne and sit in the director’s chair. So one had to go … and now Warner Bros. is looking for someone to help bring The Batman to life as its new director.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Affleck talked about how Batman holds a special place “in the hearts of millions,” and the last thing he wants to do is take unnecessary chances with the franchise.
“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.”
Affleck has been wishy-washy on directing for quite some time now. Even earlier this month, he was quite non-committal to directing the film, especially with no script in place that both he and the studio could be happy with.
“It’s not a set thing. And there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great, I’m not going to do it.”
So does that means the script for the first standalone Batman film since director Christopher Nolan left the franchise is still suffering in development hell? And how long will this project languish? Warner Bros. has not set a release date, and no one seems to be in a hurry to develop the film in a franchise that has earned $2.7 billion in global box office since 1989.
And that’s not including last year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which raked in $868.2 million all by itself.
One thing that could really have hurt Affleck’s chances to direct could be his most recent film, Live By Night, failing to do much at the box office. His period crime drama earned just $19.4 million worldwide, and only $10 million in the United States. That ranked it outside of the top 100 domestic films of 2016, and outside the top 200 globally.
Affleck has been working on a script with Geoff Johns, a former Robot Chicken writer who jumped into the DC Comics universe with work on shows like Smallville, Arrow and even developing The CW’s The Flash.
Johns also worked on Wonder Woman – which is due in June – as well as stories for next year’s Aquaman and the proposed Teen Titans movie.
The only thing that seems for sure at this point is the inclusion of True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello, who is set to play the villain Deathstroke.
It doesn’t mean we won’t see Affleck don the batsuit anytime soon. He popped up in last year’s Suicide Squad, and is set to reprise the role in November when Justice League finally comes together.
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