Leading online portal reports that Matt Reeves is in “early talks” to take up the recently vacated director’s chair for Warner Bros.’s The Batman. A writer and director, Reeves is probably best known for his work on the recent Planet Of The Apes movies, taking over for Rupert Wyatt on Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, and helming this year’s upcoming War For The Planet Of The Apes. He also directed Cloverfield for J.J. Abrams, suggesting he has a good idea of how to handle an action movie on both the macro and the micro scale.
Warner Bros. was forced to hunt around for a new director for its standalone Batman movie after star Ben Affleck, who also worked on an early draft of the movie with DC Comics’ Geoff Johns, declined to take on the job. Yesterday, we reported that the script, last touched by Argo’s Chris Terrio, was apparently going back for rewrites, but at least the efforts to secure Reeves suggest the studio is still anxious to get things moving forward and back on the right track.
With scripting duties and directing demands off his shoulders, Affleck will have more time to commit to overcoming the exhaustion and frustrations that became a problem for him recently after a demanding schedule that included Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, The Accountant, Justice League, and Live By Night. Acting in all five of those films, plus doing scripting and editing duties on a few as well, and of course serving as writer-director-actor for Live By Night, put a strain on Affleck and made it difficult for him to focus on the screenplay for The Batman. Besides his work in those films, he also traveled around the country and the world doing press junkets to promote most of the films, all of this while dealing with personal issues that added to his stress.
However, while the changes to The Batman seem to provide more breathing room and time to relax and refocus his efforts, the reverse side of that coin is quite simply that pressures dramatic enough to necessitate such a dramatic step-back could also be inherently serious enough to pose problems going forward, at least in the interim. Especially in light of the fact performing as Batman is something he’s had a few years of experience with already now, and since rumors continue to spread that there is more going on than meets the eye — rumors that gain traction when we can’t be sure how long public assurances will last and when the rollout of information comes slowly and in small doses instead of ripping the band-aid off quickly.
If Affleck and Warner had spent the last few weeks noting Affleck’s schedule and the particularly important needs of The Batman might necessitate him bringing in a collaborator, and if the remarks about the script had admitted Terrio was being sought to help get the script into shape for production, those frank admissions would’ve removed the seeming veil of secrecy and appearance of damage-control-mode, and the announcement of Affleck quitting the directing job wouldn’t have seemed quite so sudden or huge. Now, we face another round of slow leaks, with the word about continued script problems and the possible need for the new creative team to go back to the drawing board, and rumors that Affleck might continue slowly stepping away from the project.