It's been clear for months that Ben Affleck has been less than thrilled about the attention on The Batman. While normally a lot of eyes on a project is a great thing, Affleck was justifiably upset that it took away from his gangster film, Live by Night, which then went on to dud at the box office and cost Warner Bros. about $75M. Well now he doesn't have to worry over questions about directing The Batman anymore because it's out of his hands.
Affleck has agreed to back out of directing the superhero film, although he's still on board to star, produce, and help out with the story. At least according to him the decision was made so he could put everything into his performance, which is a fair thing to say although I suspect it goes further than that...
“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.”
So that begs the question of who will replace him. The first thought that came to my mind was Gavin O'Connor, who worked with Affleck on the solid thriller The Accountant. Warner Bros. may want to go bigger, though. Perhaps David Fincher? What about Affleck's buddy, Matt Damon, who has been trying to get a directorial debut going for years? Lots of intriguing options out there. [Variety]