Ben Affleck raised eyebrows a year ago when he was cast to play Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman opposite Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent/Superman in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” from Warner Brothers/DC Entertainment. The running argument was that he was a tad old for viewers, and that it grated them seeing the Dark Knight being portrayed as a grizzled warrior coming out of retirement. No matter, the film was still a box-office success and silenced all but the most vehement dissent on “Bat-Affleck”.

Things even went so far as to have the actor be tapped to both star and direct a stand-alone “Batman” movie further on in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). That was the original plan, but now Affleck himself has decided to bow out of helming the future project.

Focusing on the acting

On Monday January 30 Affleck announced that he is leaving the director’s chair on the still-in-conceptualization movie tentatively entitled “The Batman”, citing the difficulties he finds in simultaneously directing the production as well as playing the main character.

"It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require," the actor said on his statement. He noted that the character of Bruce/Batman was one of many specific characters that “hold a place in the hearts of millions”, and that he must approach the role as he did in “Batman v Superman” with a singular acting mindset, thus precluding him effectively directing the movie for Warner too. Therefore he has gotten in touch with the studio in order to find a director to collaborate with him on the film, assuring the fans that it was still on and he’s “extremely committed” to getting it on the screen.

In the works

Warner Bros. issued its own statement in response to Affleck’s announcement, stating that the studio “fully supports Ben Affleck's decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life." An inside source has it that actor and studio both agreed that it would be more beneficial to the production if he was not hobbled by the split function of directing the movie and starring in it as well. It was also revealed by the source that the planning stage for “The Batman” has been going on for several weeks now.

The rumor that Affleck had been slated to helm the project came out from his brief mention of scripting problems for Batman while promoting another WB film that he did direct, the gangster flick “Live by Night”. Another insider speculates that a contributing factor to the actor deciding not to direct “The Batman” was the poor reception and performance of “Live by Night” in theaters last December. The stand-alone Batman film will come after this year’s “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League” DCEU movies.

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