Ben Affleck announces that he’s not directing Batman standalone movie, why?

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Ben Affleck has made headlines with the announcement that he isn’t directing the upcoming standalone Batman movie, which he is still starring in and presumably co-writing. This comes on the heels of his waffling on whether the script is nearly complete and making it sound like he wasn’t sure the project would move forward. He also complained about press questions on the Batman movie and called it “clickbait” and a “pain in the ass” to talk about in interviews. So Affleck sounds unsure about the Batman movie, probably because he’s still dealing with the fact that his vanity project, the gangster movie Live By Night, was a failure with critics and at the box office. In fact it’s thought to have cost Warner Brothers $75 million. So that’s probably what’s behind this latest announcement:

Affleck’s statement: “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.”

Warner Brothers: “Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life”

[From THR]

So there were script issues, Live By Night was a big loss for Warner Brothers and they’re probably trying to mitigate the damage of Affleck directing and starring in a standalone Batman movie. Given how crappy Suicide Squad and Batman vs. Superman were, I don’t think this is a particularly good decision. If they go with Zach Snyder again, which some people are actually calling for, they’ll repeat all the same problems. Affleck is an excellent director, it’s his acting that’s wooden. Arguably that plays well in this particular role, but I don’t think replacing him as director is going to be an improvement. Maybe Affleck also wants to limit his culpability in this film. We know he takes professional failure very hard and by not directing this upcoming Batman film, he doesn’t have to be responsible if it’s not a success. He’s already putting his ego out there by carrying his own superhero film, he probably can’t take it if his directing is on the line too.

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82 Responses to “Ben Affleck announces that he’s not directing Batman standalone movie, why?”

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  1. Ana says:

    I think he got scared. Affleck has always been considered a great director, and Live by Night was his first misstep. Considering what happened with Batman vs Superman and that he would have to fill Christopher Nolan’s huge shoes, he probably doesn’t want to risk his reputation again, he knows that Batman is such an important character to many people that there will be vocal haters no matter what. I bet he’s going to remain the director on the shadows though, whoever they choose to replace him is going to do what Affleck wants.

    • velourazure says:

      Warner Bros won’t LET him direct it after ‘Live by Night’. They’re letting him save face by saying it’s his decision.

      • Bridget says:

        Let’s get real. If he was a person of color or a woman that would be the case, but the guy who directed the Best Picture a few years ago gets a 2nd, 3rd, 4th chance. For goodness sake, Zak Snyder is in charge of the movie universe.

      • Nan says:

        Zack Snyder isn’t on the verge of a breakdown. He’s not an alcoholic living in a guest house. Argo was years ago. Ben’s not going to get an infinite pass from any studio when so much is on the line.

      • xo says:

        I didn’t see it. Was it a BAD film (poorly directed) or did it just not do well commercially?

      • Bridget says:

        @nan: Argo was just a few years ago, not decades. And Snyder is a tasteless hack, which is worse. They hired the guy who’s last movie was Sucker Punch to direct Superman and create their universe. WB is clearly not that worried about handing over the reins to people who have a significant commercial failure on their resume.

      • Nan says:

        @Bridget Argo was 5 years ago, not “just a few.” And Snyder may not have an Oscar but his stability and sanity have never been in question. The screenplay for BvS failed him, even though Ben’s guy Chris Terrio was brought on to write it. And obviously, WB will take a “tasteless hack” who remains competent and sane, over a drunk idiot who can’t get his shit together.

      • Bridget says:

        @Nan: it’s WB. Why would they start doing that now?

        Argo won 4 years ago. Not that long. Publicly, Affleck is still going to make fanboys happier than Snyder, directing wise. The criticisms with the movies (Superman, Suicide Squad, BvS) have all been squarely at the feet of Snyder and his crappy style. It’s very clear there was pushback behind the scenes, one of which being that it would be steering away from Snyder’s vision. Affleck has been a mess for a long time, why would that just now be an issue? Affleck is a proven director. Men get to have a flop and potentially a substance abuse issue and still be hired. Do I think Affleck was trying to negotiate hard for control and lost a lot of his ground? Probably. But this is a series that has consistently had behind the scenes issues.

      • M says:

        “WB is clearly not that worried about handing over the reins to people who have a significant commercial failure on their resume. ” Uh, they clearly are as they have kicked Ben from the director’s chair following his LbN commercial and critical disaster. And BvS didn’t lose money, it’s not a “significant commercial failure.” Even Ben said that it was the biggest success of his career.

        LOL Warner Bros is clearly not comfortable having him at the helm of The Batman. That’s how bad he must be. And Argo is a 2012 movie, filmed in 2011. These are just like, facts. Who cares when it won awards. The process was years before that.

      • A says:

        No way did they ask him to step aside. His decision to leave is being reported as bad for WB/DCEU, not bad for Affleck’s career. They won’t be able to get anyone with a better reputation as a director than Affleck.

      • Kat says:

        “They won’t be able to get anyone with a better reputation as a director than Affleck.” Bwahahahahahaha

      • A says:

        It’s a fact. Top-tier directors don’t want to touch the DCEU and all the studio interference that entails. Fanboys hoping for Fincher or Denis Villenueve are living in cloud cuckoo land. Getting Affleck to direct it was a coup.

      • Bridget says:

        There have been rumblings about problems way before LIve By Night was even released (so back when it may have been an Oscar contender).

        Movies take years to be made. So no, his 2012 movie (that won Best Picture in early 2013) is not that old. Unless you have the attention span of a 12 year old on Instagram. Live By Night was a failure, but it was because it just didn’t come together. It happens, and someone of Affleck’s stature gets to make mistakes at this point. And A is correct. Affleck is as good as DC/WB is going to get. Superhero movies are MASSIVE commitments with an intense amount of oversight from the studio. It’s at least 2 years of a director’s life without a ton of opportunity for creative input. It’s a miserable process.

        As much as people want to take this as proof that Affleck is a mess and his movie is being taken away, there have been rumblings of issues for months. Ben Affleck is fine. That’s part of his problem – he’s always fine.

      • Jayna says:

        I don’t believe that for a second.

      • Pandy says:

        Totally. That’s my take too.

  2. Ramona says:

    Affleck has been sending some mixed messages about the Batman movie so theres definitely been behind the scenes wrangling for awhile. I just think with his new film actually breaking the record for biggest drop in ticket sales, he lost whatever clout he had to wield in the wrangling and just stepped aside. Its best for his directing career to let this fall on someone elses shoulders because I guarantee that the studio will be elbow deep in meddling again and you’ll end up with another hodge podge mess.

    • African Sun says:

      Yeah this. I was really surprised to hear how badly Live did. The Accountant was good and it did well internationally.

      Batman is bigger than Affleck, heck it is even bigger than Bale. It’s too much responsibility to shoulder onto one person.

      It’s not worth the stress of making a mistake with Batman. The bean counters at Warner Bros did the right thing.

  3. Hannah says:

    “by not directing this upcoming Batman film, he doesn’t have to be responsible if it’s not a success” – he will be the leading actor, no matter if it’s Scorcese ou Spielberg directing, if he doesn’t deliver, it will be his fault.

    “He’s already putting his ego out there by carrying his own superhero film” – he is in it for the money.

  4. squeezeolime says:

    Heard it’s because the script is problematic so he doesn’t want to be the poor schmuck who gets all the blame for yet another crappy DC movie but who knows.. Also, I so would in that top photo. No shame.

    • Ramona says:

      If the script is already problematic, he should take the majority of the blame since he wrote it.

      • squeezeolime says:

        I think he needed more time but the studio wanted to move forward with what they had because they needed to push back their slate for this already. He’s not the only writer and he has been grumpy about “getting the script just right before starting to shoot” (he was VERY reluctant to shoot what he had in hand) but I doubt even Batfleck has that kind of clout, especially after the 75 mil fiasco.

      • M says:

        He also wrote LbN by himself and we see how that turned out. He’s not a writer but he likes to pretend that he is.

      • A says:

        He is a writer, and a good one. LBN wasn’t his best work. The pacing was off but the dialogue itself was fine.

        Chris Terrio wrote the latest Batman draft.

      • Kat says:

        “The pacing was off but the dialogue itself was fine.” What dialogue? It was 60% voiceover. He is not a good writer although he has taken credit for the work of others. To the surprise of no one, when he tried to do it all himself, he failed miserably.

  5. Jellybean says:

    His strength has always been in casting his films; 3 films, 3 great supporting roles for 3 great character actors and therefore 3 oscar nominations. He was always the blandest thing in his own movies, but he got away with it. I haven’t seen this last one, but after all his success, maybe his ego got the better of him and he wanted to be the center of attention on screen in another oscar winning film.

  6. Jenfan says:

    Ben has been working non stop since his split announcement 1.5 plus years ago. LBN crashed major league – where he clearly takes all the blame. I don’t think he can handle more failure right now. My guess is he walks away from the project all together down the line.

    • HeidiM says:

      I’m willing to bet $$ that he was deeply hurt by those Razzie nominations last week too. And he doesn’t have J-Lo to blame them on this time.

  7. Don't kill me I'm French says:

    The fact that he was not able to be sober (even at 10 am with some sober coach/publicists) during Live By Night European promotion is maybe in relation with this decision

  8. QQ says:

    So wait wait lets back up, didn’t he have some juicy deal attached to the whole Batman thing like to direct/act cause that was the high fallutin’ spin they gave us as to why he was “willing” to muck up his artiste hands with a superhero franchise… wasn’t it?? so my question is did WB really Pay this bloated white man Millions to sit around looking drunk/high and mope ??

  9. Maya says:

    How about getting a female director such as Ava D, Angelina Jolie or Kathryn Bigelow who are directors who are not only good but also know their action stuff?

    • squeezeolime says:

      HELL NO. You know this is going to be another shitshow but they’ll blame it on the director being a woman. No no no no no. White men can have DC.

  10. M says:

    He was forced out because he’s a drunk. Warner Bros just pissed away $75million because of him, they weren’t going to risk 10 times that amount by giving him the reins for The Batman. He hasn’t been seen in like a week — I bet they forced him into rehab.

    • ScotiaGirl says:

      Rumour has it that he was seen in Cabo San Lucas last weekend with a woman. But I havent found anything online about the siting. Someone on another thread on this site stated it.

      • Kate says:

        He’s clearly seeing someone else, I saw the tweet about him in Cabo San Lucas then it was taken down when someone asked her who he was with, the picture she took was taken from afar , Ben looks clean shaven and the woman with him is definitely not Jen for sure. Today there is an instagram pic of Ben visiting sick kids at an LA hospital, he’s got stubble, not a full beard anymore.
        I really hope Ben files for divorce soon, all this talk about respecting Jen yet he’s dating someone else and going on vacation with them while still technically married. Live By Night was a massive bomb for a reason, it’s called karma, his career is always his priority never his family, now his kids will have to get sloppy thirds after his new girl.

      • Qrs says:

        So since the tweet has been “deleted” – who do you think he was with?

      • A says:

        Crazy that none of the DC fan accounts picked up the photo.

    • Nan says:

      There was a twitter sighting of him in San Diego area on late Sunday night.

    • A says:

      He was in LA on Monday according to twitter.

  11. A says:

    He’s been over it for long before LBN was release – saying there’s no filming dates, no script, that he’d like to direct a smaller movie before Batman.

    He’s spent nearly a year of his life away from his kids playing Batman and I think he lost interest. Also think he doesn’t need the stress or pressure it would bring.

  12. dodgy says:

    I never liked him as Daredevil so for him as Batman… I’ma take a hard pass.

  13. Bridget says:

    He’s been hinting at issues for a while. I’m wondering if he and Snyder/Nolan butted heads about direction. No one seems to be having a good experience making the D.C. Comic movies, so what’s the through line there? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that Live By Night was a misstep, and that he has a decent idea of what he’s doing as a director.

  14. Kat says:

    For every time that he’s ‘hinted’ that he’s over it all, there have been at least two times that he’s been enthusiastic about it and reassuring that the project is moving forward. So I guess it’s a matter of hearing what you want to hear. I have a hard time feeling sorry for him. He wanted the cash and the fame and apparently didn’t think anything through. He knew what the filming schedule would be like, and where things would be filmed and that it would mean being away from his kids for long periods of time, and he signed up anyway. Boo hoo, have another drink!

  15. ScotiaGirl says:

    http://blindgossip.com/?p=83278

    For what it’s worth

    • Nan says:

      Is Jen submitting blind items now? Who else could know about this conversation? Unless that website or some crazy Garner stan invented it.

      I think it’s fairly obvious that WB pulled the cord on this/him. Ben is unstable. Just playing the part and staying clean and sober is going to be hard for him. Of course he can’t direct it.

      • JoJo says:

        I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I agree with you on the BI comment, even though I’m sure you’re joking. :) I read that Blind about “All the Hats”, and my first thought was that it was a planted blind. I have had the same thought about a few other stories lately (Radar’s article about how they’re getting along better than ever now due to a renewed sex life, also making sure to highlight that the split wasn’t the nanny’s fault because he and Jen weren’t even having sex then.) Hahaha! The story was way too contrived and deliberate in what it was trying to push, and the quotes were way too phony. I’m in PR, and planted stories or planted blinds are just more channels to push a preferred PR narrative, but more indirectly – in a way that “appears” more natural and organic (vs. giving an interview direct to a media outlet.)

      • Nan says:

        I wasn’t kidding. There are only a few options: (a) it’s fake, invented by one of Jen’s pathetic stans; (b) it’s real and Jen submitted it herself; (c) it’s not really real but Jen’s PR submitted it to try to turn the Doormat into the Savior Doormat. I think there are better ways to plant PR narrative than blind items, though, since most people think they’re fake or there is debate over who they’re about. We’ll see if any of their regularly-used tabloids pick up that angle of the story.

      • Jenfan says:

        That blind is really funny. Makes it sound like they are so together and Jen’s taking care of him again. I agree with a lot of posters here, WB forced his hand – though from the way he was complaining about it – I don’t think Ben had to be pushed that much. I do think he will eventually pull out of this project all together.

        Where is Ben lately? Now that the promos for his movies are done, no more school run / coffee run shots?

      • 23years says:

        I disagree. The whole “I want you to be happy. I want you to be successful. I want you to have a good life” stuff sounds like she might be done with him but she still wants the best for him. Which is basically what these “great friends” have maintained all along.

      • Kat says:

        @23years I thought the same thing.

      • JoJo says:

        They haven’t been spotted together now in well over a month – before Montana. Except for the one church outing where they arrived/left separately. All the school run shots are of Jen by herself now, which seems interesting since they seemed to be doing joint coffee/school runs after he got back from London (although who knows what goes on that isnt papped.)

  16. A says:

    Not sure how I feel about it. I’m a big fan of DC, but I haven’t watched BvS because I’m afraid of how disappointed I’ll feel after. I have some friends who utterly swear by Ben Affleck’s Batman though. I’ve heard that his version of it is one of the closest to the Batman from the comics, which was nice because they all HATED Nolan’s gritty spin on it. I personally would have liked Nolan’s Batman films, if they had been about a character he’d made up on his own who wasn’t Batman (LOL), but I can see why people weren’t a fan. I mean, Batman is definitely a bit darker than a lot of the other characters in DC, but like….not anywhere close to how the character is in The Dark Knight.

  17. ScotiaGirl says:

    Another link for what it’s worth. I can’t figure it out. This is very recent during the London roll out of LBN just a couple of weeks ago. Near the end they are talking about the sex scenes AGAIN and he brings up Jen and refers to her as his wife but he stutters to get it out.

    http://m.channel24.co.za/channel24/Movies/News/sa-exclusive-sienna-miller-talks-about-her-south-african-mom-and-ben-affleck-tries-out-an-sa-accent-20170131

    • Jenfan says:

      I felt like he had something to say (that he tries to keep women comfortable and safe on set during those scenes and would not do anything else because Jen is an actress and he has daughters) , but he was trying to figure out how to refer to Jen and then just went for it – saying “my wife”, which she is. He has referred to Jen as his wife many times in the last year and a half – I think it’s habit with him (whether they are together or not). Jen never calls Ben her husband in interviews since the split.

      • ScotiaGirl says:

        I kinda got the impression that he was aware of all the references /attention on these scenes in his recent interviews and how the subject MIGHT be hurtful or awkward for Jen so he wanted to down play the talk out of respect for her.

      • M says:

        She called him her husband in the Vanity Fair interview, if memory serves. That was months after the split.

      • JoJo says:

        @M – In VF, she said “husband” but not in a current context. She said she “lost the dream of dancing with her husband at her daughter’s wedding”, but that they’re still friends because you should see the kids faces when they see him, etc.

      • Maureen says:

        “Sure, I lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter’s wedding. ” is the exact quote. So unless she can predict the future and sees that she won’t be married, she is referring to Ben here. She’s calling him her husband. I don’t see what is so complicated about this.

    • jas says:

      He said my wife WAS an actress. I assume he was trying to say, I was married to an actress, I have daughters , therefore I have respect for women on set……. Unless Jennifer Garner has given up acting, these two are over.

      • A says:

        I’ve listened a few times and don’t hear “was an actress”. He says “my wife’s an actress”.

      • Jenfan says:

        @A I agree. But I don’t think it matters.
        I don’t think they are filing for divorce any time soon. I also don’t think they will be back together publically (even if they are – which I too am beginning to doubt). I think it will be limbo for a long time. Definitely one of the most amicable divorces in history.

      • JoJo says:

        I listened a few times too (sadly.) The way he says it is awkward – like he’s not sure what to say so he hesitates and mumbles it. Sounds more like “is” but not fully like you’d say it if you were committed to it. :)

      • Jenfan says:

        @jojo – I did feel like – when he was shuddering at first he was at first going to say “my wife…” , then he was contemplating how to term it, and decided to go for it and say “my wife’s an actress…” But it was clearly mumbled because he was probably thinking I’m going to have a problem – like when he called Jen his wife on the infamous Bill Simmons interview – and everyone made a big deal out of it. This was a South African interview – not picked up by the American press.

        I don’t think it’s telling (as I perhaps did in the past).
        Ben has been in the news a lot between movie promotions, the flop of LBN and now withdrawing from the director’s chair of batman.

        I’m looking forward to the Oscars – I think read somewhere that Jen is going to be presenting. And w/ Kimmel hosting, and Ben’s producing partner Jennifer Todd producing the oscars I would think Ben would be involved with the show as well. (Matt and Casey there as well). Anyone one vote for a live version of “handsome men’s club”?

      • JoJo says:

        Hmm. I don’t see anything anywhere about Jen presenting, but maybe I’ve missed it. I’m sure the behind-the-scenes reports of the Vanity Fair party will be interesting.

  18. ScotiaGirl says:

    I do think LBN was greatly impacted by what was going on with Jen and his worry over public perception of him with the Nanny. Don’t think he could fully focus on the project though he wanted to and tried to. And I think he was drinking again and god knows what else, hard drugs have been rumoured, to try to escape his “world” at the time. Ben has a lot if demons despite being a highly intelligent man. He never wanted to be an alcoholic like his father and break up his family like his father did but yet he did. I think that plays on him a lot too. He has been quoted many times saying he is interested in the theme of fathers and how children pay for the sins of the father. He repeated his history for his children and that weighs on him. Like I said he has a lot of demons circling him.

    But I do think he is a great director and when he is in a better place again he will put out another winner. They can’t all be successes (or can they?)

    • A says:

      Absolutely. I think he holds a lot of resentment for his father. Casey talked about his alcoholism in depth on the WTF podcast a few months ago and it was alcohol seizures-bad. He and Ben went to a support group as kids.

      No one can say he doesn’t regret torpedoing his marriage or hurting his kids. He carries himself so differently since.

      Ben will direct great movies in the future and lots of his talents are evident in LBN – excellent performances from actors, well-staged action scenes. No director has a perfect CV.

      • JoJo says:

        Not trying to be contrary, but I think his relationship with his father is very good now and has been for a long time. They’ve made amends. As for repeating the same mistakes, I think we need to be careful with that. Ben’s father was an alcoholic, yes, but he was literally absentee and moved away and they didn’t see him for years. This is different from Ben who remains close to his kids, regardless of reported issues.

      • ScotiaGirl says:

        Agree JoJo I think they are on good terms now but think Ben still is haunted about that time in his life and doing the same. He is determined not to be absentee but still think he is/was distraught over breaking up the family unit because of the kids in relation to what he felt when it happened to him. The arrangement with Jen seems to have alleviated that for him but still think he lives with the guilt that it WAS his fault that there is a divide in their family. The family is not whole like it was it was, to the kids anyway.

      • A says:

        I don’t think they’re on great terms. By both Ben and Casey’s accounts, he’s not involved much with his grandchildren and Ben communicates with him by email. He visited LA back in 2012.

      • J says:

        I just listened to the podcast – it’s actually heartbreaking when describes his father as an absolute drunk and how that affected his childhood. The support meetings, being dropped of at his dad’s place and his father would be passed out the whole time. Casey sounds really real here – he is very open about his separation – their shared arrangement – they live a block from each other – kids go back and forth (much more traditional). Not sure why Ben can’t be this open about things – I think it would shut down so much of the wondering.
        He also had a funny line about how his mom pretty much lives in his guest room except when he can convince her to go back to Cambridge.

    • Jayna says:

      There was never even a word about Ben being a mess on LBN. I think he is extremely focused when directing and acting. Not one scintilla of gossip about him not professional and i control on set.

      He had a lot going on in his personal life as far as the split/nanny. Most people forget how hard it is on the children in the beginning. He had that on his mind.

      But the biggest problem was Ben took a book that had too many parts to it and tried to condense it into two hours but cover the whole book. The critics have said it either should have been a mini series, to do it justice, or he should have pared the storyline down more. I haven’t read the book. My sister did and loved it and loves the author, but she couldn’t imagine getting all that in in two hours.

      • Maureen says:

        People are trying to create allllll kinds of excuses for him now. He looked and seemed fine during the filming of LbN. And anyway, he would NOT have gone into production if he wasn’t happy with the script or anything else. So he must have been ready. LOL at those who think that he was in the depths of despair at that time. He and Jen had been split up for months and no one even suspected. He started to circle the drain after the nanny stuff.

      • Jayna says:

        No. Actually, he was on a strict timeline. They had pushed back LBN because Ben had so much going on and the timing of when he would be promoting movies. They even pushed back The Accountant to release much later, when he would have time to promote it. But Ben had to write LBN and had to film it that fall. There was no time left to push it back more. There was no room in his schedule. So he might not have been a hundred percent on the script because of that. He did have a catastrophe with nannygate also tha t the fallout I imagine affected him right when he was supposed to be writing the movie and got him off track.

        But he’s still the one that misjudged and tried to cram too much over a span of time into a two-hour movie. Without that strict timeline, it still doesn’t mean the movie would have been better. No one can know that.

        It’s not a horrible movie. And there was improvement many reviewers said in his directing skills in certain aspects even if the end result wasn’t great. Each movie is a learning process. What I liked about Ben’s directing and writing was how tight he kept the storyline, with momentum, and a natural arc. He overreached maybe on this movie. I don’t know.

  19. Jayna says:

    These types of movies are very involved as far as directing. I always thought it was going to be really tough to direct a movie this big in scope and be the main character, in a heavy Batman suit, to boot. I think it was a good decision, but fans are going to be upset. They were looking forward to Ben directing after their disillusionment with Zack Snyder. But he will still produce the movie and will be part of the collaborative process as far the director who is chosen.

    • Jayna says:

      I forgot to add, the script is a huge issue still. If they can’t get to a place where Ben is happy with the script, I agree with others, I could see him walking away completely. Hopefully, WB stops pushing and gives them the time to get a script everyone is happy with.

      Okay, Ben. Some of the pressure is off now. Go back to the gym and running and get in trim and fighting shape to play Batman. No man boobs allowed. No filler and botox allowed.

  20. Tina says:

    I wonder if he will be at the Super Bowl and if he will bring the girlfriend.

    • J says:

      Does one, now deleted Twitter sighting make a girl friend? I think not..if he is there he is with Matt etc.