'The Batman' Has Found a New Director

Ben Affleck and director Zack Snyder on set of ‘Batman v Superman’ (Warner Bros.)

By Justin Kroll, Variety

The Batman standalone film has found its new director.

Matt Reeves is in early talks to take over directing duties after Ben Affleck stepped down from the role in late January. Affleck will still star in and produce the Warner Bros. movie.

Sources tell Variety that the Cloverfield and War for the Planet of the Apes director has already committed to helming the superhero pic, although a deal isn’t done yet. Variety first reported that Reeves was high on the list of directors to replace Affleck, but, until recently, meetings were still being held with other filmmakers.

Affleck will still have a significant role in the direction of the film — the first solo movie to star Affleck as the Caped Crusader — after writing the script with Geoff Johns, but he will now have more time to focus on acting.

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Reeves is no stranger to this situation. He replaced Rupert Wyatt as director of the Planet of the Apes sequel at Fox after Wyatt had successfully rebooted the franchise with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The second installment, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, was just as successful — critically and financially.

Reeves is currently in post production on War for the Planet of the Apes, which bows this July, but should have no trouble seguing into The Batman prep. The question now is when the film will start production. Filming was initially set to begin in May, but was already expected to be pushed back to give Affleck a break following a busy 2016 that included shoots and press tours for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Accountant, and Live by Night. However, given how quickly the studio found a new director, a shoot should still come by the end of 2017.

Although Reeves directed tentpoles like Apes and Cloverfield, this will mark his first venture into the comic book realm. He’s represented by CAA.