Ben Affleck has stepped down as director of The Batman, reports Variety. Affleck will of course still star, and he will remain a producer on the solo film.
“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. Pictures added: “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 and Affleck will now begin searching for a new director. Variety says there is a shortlist and they are hearing that War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves is among those on the list.
Affleck will face off against Joe Manganiello, who will play Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, in the film. Additional appearances by Jeremy Irons as Alfred and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon are expected to happen as well.
An official release date for The Batman, written by Affleck and Geoff Johns, hasn’t been set. Affleck will next appear as Batman in Justice League, opening in theaters on November 17. You can view photos from that film in the gallery below.