As rumored, Ben Affleck has bowed out of directing the upcoming standalone Batman movie, The Batman, the actor and film studio Warner Bros. confirmed today. He will still star in the movie.
“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,” Affleck said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.
His statement goes on: “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. said in its own statement that it “fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.”
Earlier this month, Affleck said in an interview that he was unsure if he would direct The Batman, or whatever the movie ends up being called. “That’s the idea,” Affleck said at the time about directing the movie. “But 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.”
In the middle of December, Affleck said the finishing touches were being put on the script. “We’re on the right track with that and everything is coming together,” he said at the time. “We’re still finishing up a script. I’m very excited.”
There has been speculation that Affleck’s new, untitled Batman could come out in summer 2018, though this is not confirmed.
In August, Affleck released some early test footage of Deathstroke, who is confirmed as the villain in the movie. A week later, it was confirmed that Joe Manganiello had been cast in the role.
Affleck first played Batman in 2016’s Batman v Superman. He’ll play the character again in this summer’s Justice League.