Ben Affleck has stepped down as director of The Batman in order to focus his attention towards being The Batman, Variety reports. Afleck and Warner Bros. came to a mutal understanding regarding the decision as he will still stay on board as the star and producer of the film. They are now currently in search of a replacement director and rumor has is that War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves is at the top of their short list.
“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.”
“Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life,” the studio said a statement.
Affleck first dsuited up as the Dark Knight for DC's Extended Universe in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and while the film itself was critically panned, most people, myself included, praised Affleck's portrayal as Batman. He then went on to make a brief cameo appearance in Suicide Squad and is set to appear in Justice League later this year. Back in August, Affleck teased that Deathstroke would be the film's main villain, who was later confirmed to be played by Joe Manganiello.
The Batman is scheduled to begin shooting in spring 2017 with a 2018 release date. There's no word on whether or not Affleck dropping out as director will impact the film's production.