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Stand-alone Batman movie keeps accumulating big problems

What does its future look like?


Ben Affleck’s stand-alone Batman movie has been in trouble for quite some time and there’s no sign it’s getting any better.

A flurry of news in recent days have led to more concerns that the cast may not stay together and the film is in worse shape than people thought. Warner Bros. has refused to comment on what appears to be unfortunate and escalating information.

It’s no secret that Ben Affleck — who played Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — is ambivalent about the movie. He originally signed on to write, direct and star in it, but in the past few months he has dropped out of the writing and directing roles. He’s still scheduled to play Batman, but he doesn’t seem enthusiastic about it. Co-star Joe Manganiello seems to be in the same boat.

Warner Bros. announced last year that Manganiello, best known for his work in True Blood and Magic Mike, would star opposite Affleck as the DC villain Deathstroke. In an interview with Pittsburgh Live Today, Manganiello was asked about his role in the film and whether he was still involved. Manganiello shrugged and said he wasn’t sure.

The Batman’s news didn’t stop there, though. Slash Film reported the movie’s script, which has already undergone several treatments, was tossed in the garbage and would be rewritten from scratch. Paired with a delay in development to accommodate new director Matt Reeves’ post-production schedule on War for the Planet of the Apes, it appeared the Batman movie came with a large number of issues that needed addressing.

Affleck’s out as director, there’s no script, the cast is unsure of what’s going on and, perhaps most importantly, it seems like Warner Bros. is determined to make a movie that no one is interested in.

The Batman’s issues seemed to start on New Year’s Day. In an interview with The Guardian for Live by Night, Affleck’s prohibition-era gangster movie, the actor said he wasn’t going to direct The Batman if the script wasn’t there. Still feeing the burn from the negative critical reception Batman v Superman received in March, Affleck said he was taking his time with the project.

“But it’s not a set thing and there’s no script,” Affleck said. “If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it.”

A few days later, however, Affleck told late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel that he was directing, only to counter that statement a few weeks later. Speaking to Variety, Affleck said he had too much going on and couldn’t dedicate his time to writing, directing and starring in the movie. Affleck added that he was still very much a part of the project, but was giving up some of the duties.

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said in a statement. “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.”

About a month later, on Feb. 23, Reeves was confirmed by Warner Bros. as the new project’s new director. It seemed like things were back on track for the studio and its new DC Extended Universe movie, but rumors then flooded the internet about the state of the script and trepidation producers had about the film it going forward.

As it stands, the film has a director with a nervous cast and no script. Production on the movie has been pushed back to 2018, making it very unlikely that it will be released before 2019, at the earliest. Before the Batman movie is released, Warner Bros. will release Wonder Woman, Justice League, The Flash and Aquaman. There’s still time for the studio to figure out what it wants The Batman to be, and more importantly, time for Affleck to redeem himself as the caped crusader.

Justice League, which marks the next time Affleck will don the cowl, will be released on Nov. 17.

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