Ben Affleck’s The Batman is still moving forward, but the actor will no longer direct the film. He will still star and produce, but the directing chair is empty for now.
This comes shortly after Affleck announced that he would still be directing despite rumors claiming otherwise. The change of plans might not be the result of what you expected, though. His prior directing effort, Live by Night, flopped both at the box office and in the eyes of critics, and he noticed.
Affleck’s Batman has been among the bright points in the eyes of critics for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, proving that he can wear the cape and cowl much better than his Daredevil critics expected.
Ben Affleck apparently doesn’t think he can do “justice” to the role of Batman if he’s also directing, according to Collider.
“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.”
Affleck clearly understands that under the direction of Joel Schumacher (Batman & Robin) and Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises), Batman wasn’t given proper treatment by the end. After Tim Burton handed over directorial control, his films took a more comical direction, which fans generally disliked. Alongside some questionable choices made with Batman & Robin, critics and fans alike found the changes laughable at best. Christopher Nolan’s trilogy finale had given Christian Bale’s character an over-emphasized growl and strange facial expression, which had become the focus of Pete Holmes’ parody series for College Humor.
The Washington Post states that Zach Snyder is unlikely to step in for Ben Affleck’s The Batman, as most of his efforts have been criticized for many of the same things. 300 and Watchmen were both considered big on visual spectacle without much of a story. The latter also required reading the graphic novel to fully understand it. He is also committed to taking on Justice League and likely won’t have time to focus on Batman’s latest solo outing.
David Ayer, who directed Affleck’s Batman as a minor character in Suicide Squad, is already set to direct the upcoming Margot Robbie headliner Gotham City Sirens. The breakout star will reprise her role of Harley Quinn alongside other notable female Batman villains.
It’s highly doubtful that Christopher Nolan will return to direct a different take on the Dark Knight, as he has stated that he’s finished with the character.
It’s even less likely that Michael Bay would take the director’s chair. His own Transformers film franchise has been critically slammed ever since Revenge of the Fallen. He can’t even produce a film without getting it instantly labeled as a bad movie, as evidenced by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He even tried to get out of directing Transformers: The Last Knight, but nobody would take over.
John McTiernan was in charge of Die Hard’s arguably two greatest entries, one of which is now considered a mandatory Christmas film for action fans, right up there with the first Lethal Weapon. His tendency to do everything with practical effects might clash with the often CG approach the Batman films usually take, though he did direct Last Action Hero, an often misunderstood spoof on action films.
Paul Greengrass, who got his start in horror with a super 8 video camera he found in middle school, is another possibility, having directed The Bourne Ultimatum and Jason Bourne. The Batman, if done correctly, is often a combination of action and horror, so he is a strong option.
With a similar loss of director for the upcoming The Flash, it’s not looking good for the DC expanded universe.
Who do you think should direct The Batman now that Ben Affleck has stepped down?
[Featured Image by Warner Bros. Pictures]