BEN AFFLECK NO LONGER DIRECTING THE BATMAN | GEEK NEWS BAT-NEWS PODCAST
Ben Affleck, while remaining Batfleck, has stepped down as director of The Batman.
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Warner Bros.’ The Batman is the DCEU’s beyond anticipated solo Batman film, with a rumored 2018 release. In case you’ve been out of the Bat-loop, Ben Affleck has been set from the beginning to write, produce, star and direct himself as the Batman. Then, some big news came this past Monday, January 30th. From what Affleck said in Monday’s announcement, it still appears he will be performing the first 3 of those massive undertakings for the film. However, he has officially stepped down as director.
Here’s Ben Affleck’s statement to Variety, to no longer direct The Batman:
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.
It’s hard to disagree with anyone saying that 4 jobs is hard to do at once. Then, consider that this is a film so big, Affleck and Geoff Johns have apparently described it as the “definitive Batman movie.” I knew I’d heard that description a while ago and when digging around for it, found an early news post from January of 2016 about The Batman. This was on Latino Review’s LRMOnline.com, which then brought me down a super interesting rabbit hole of Bat-information I hadn’t thought of in quite some time.
While information from a year ago might be old news, it unexpectedly shined some light on the most recent of Affleck’s Bat-news. LRM quotes Birth.Death.Movies, talking about Affleck and Johns’ plans for the scale and scope of this upcoming Batman project:
It’s going to be crammed with Bat villains, which means that just about every major bad guy you’ve ever wanted to see in a movie will be in this movie. According to my sources Affleck and Geoff Johns, who has been working with him on the film, want to make the definitive Batman film. They want to tell the ultimate Batman story, and to do so they’re going to bring in all the big guns. They’re going to have a big, sprawling Bat universe already in place.
Crammed. Every. Major. Bad Guy. Ever. Definitive. Ultimate. All the big guns. Big, sprawling Bat universe. Not one of those words or phrases indicates this movie will be small. Or easy. So, if Affleck and Johns want to maintain the sky high bar they’ve set for this Batman film, it does make sense that at any point during pre-production, Affleck might look at what he has on his plate and just say no to one of those tasks. Not to mention, the task of directing. It’s just a very realistic and understandable decision. Most importantly, the decision seems to have been made deliberately to ensure quality and to prevent Batman himself from being spread too thin, both creatively and logistically.
My first reaction was to be not at all surprised. Look at the year this man’s had. And, these are just the 2016 Affleck projects I can remember off the top of my head right now: In March, we got a starring role as Batman himself in Batman v Superman; a starring role in The Accountant; he then wrote, directed, and starred in Live by Night, and as LRM’s Los Fan Boys podcast pointed out a few weeks ago, he still managed to find time to show up in Suicide Squad with a Batman cameo.
Then, the nerdy kid in me kicked right in. I guess I just wanted Batman to direct himself. Listening to the most recent Los Fan Boys talk about how much work all that would be, it made me think: This could have been Affleck’s Braveheart. If Mel Gibson could produce and direct himself as William Wallace, I have no doubt Affleck could have done a great job as the Batman. Then again, Mel Gibson didn’t write Braveheart, so I guess at the end of the day, Affleck’s still doing 3 major jobs just like Gibson. And what’s kind of endearing is that Affleck’s back doing the same thing he’s been doing since he won his first Oscar exactly 20 years ago this year: writing and acting out his own scripts. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon broke into Hollywood back in 1997, co-writing and co-starring in Good Will Hunting. If Affleck can bring this same A-game 20 plus years later–and, thus far, it seems he intends to–I think we’ll be fine with The Batman we get.