“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” the actor said. “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.”
The studio itself also released a statement, saying, “Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.”
The search is now on for a new director, and Variety’s sources claim that there’s already a shortlist, and that it includes War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves.
While it’s disappointing for Affleck fans to see the actor-turned-director step down from helming this film, it sounds like he’ll still have a large role in its development (he will likely still have a producing credit, like he does on Justice League). Regardless of his reasons, this is likely to spark more controversy for the DCEU, which has now lost directors on three tentpoles: Wonder Woman, The Flash, and now The Batman.