Ben Affleck will not direct the standalone Batman movie as previously indicated, Variety reports. The actor will remain attached to the Warner Bros. project as producer, as well as reprising his role as Bruce Wayne / Batman, but in a statement said he couldn’t juggle both acting and directing to the level that fans required.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck’s statement reads. “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.”
In its own statement, Warner Bros. said it “fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.” Studio boss Kevin Tsujihara appeared to confirm that Affleck would be helming the still-untitled Batman standalone movie last year, but the star dialed back his commitment earlier this month. In an interview with The Guardian, Affleck said it was “the idea” that he would direct, but that it was “not a set thing,” and there was still no script. “If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it,” he said.
The search for a new director is likely to delay the Batman movie — a move that may end up reordering Warner Bros.’ DC release schedule yet again. The company shunted the second Justice League movie back last year to make room for Affleck’s planned Batman, but if both script and director aren’t decided on soon, it may need to come forward to plug the bat-shaped hole in the cinematic universe.