Less than a week after it appeared negotiations had broken down, Warner Bros. has announced Matt Reeves will indeed direct “The Batman,” replacing Ben Affleck behind the camera.
“We are thrilled to have Matt Reeves taking the helm of Batman, the crown jewel of our DC slate,” Toby Emmerich, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said in a statement. “Matt’s deep roots in genre films and his evolution into an emotional world-building director make him the perfect filmmaker to guide the Dark Knight through this next journey.”
The announcement, released this afternoon, also confirms the film’s title as “The Batman.” Affleck seemingly revealed the name of the movie in October, only to almost immediately walk that back.
Affleck, who co-wrote the first draft with DC Entertainment President and CCO Geoff Johns, signaled for months that he wasn’t going to rush into production — “There’s not enough money in the world to make a mediocre version of Batman worth it,” he said in December — even as Warner Bros. marched forward, even staking out a 2018 release date. He ultimately announced in late January that he’d exited the project as director, explaining, “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.” Although he’s not mentioned in today’s announcement, Affleck presumably remains as co-writer, producer and star.
Reeves, whose credits also include “Cloverfield,” “Let Me In” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” emerged immediately as the reported frontrunner to replace Affleck, only to seemingly walk away from negotiations by Feb. 17. Now, just six days later, he’s officially on board to direct.
“I have loved the Batman story since I was a child,” Reeves said in today’s statement. “He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply. I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen.”
In the wake of Affleck’s departure, Warner Bros. hired Chris Terrio (“Argo,” “Justice League”) to take another pass at “The Batman’s” script. Presumably Reeves, and established writer, will also have a hand in shaping the current draft.
“The Batman” was previously targeted to begin production this spring. There’s no official word yet how, or if, the behind-the-scenes changes will affect those plans.
The film stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon and Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke.
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