Who’s On Hollywood’s Shortlist To Direct THE BATMAN For DC
Ben Affleck: The Batman. It wasn’t long ago that rumors were flying about how well received Affleck’s performance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was. Standing ovations, and how the entire DC Extended Universe would be structured around this Bruce Wayne/Batman. Perhaps standing ovations were a bit premature; however despite negative feedback for the film, most agree Affleck’s Batman was a highlight. Which lead to the announcement of a stand-alone Batman film not previously assigned a spot in the forecast of DCEU films. Affleck was said to star and direct.
Ben Affleck’s recent comeback has rested heavily on his directing abilities, as well as his acting. So, the excitement over a potentially award-worthy Affleck directed Batman movie had many fans salivating. But, this latest development will wipe the mouth of some: Ben Affleck will no longer be directing The Batman.
Affleck released the following statement confirming his departure as director:
“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.”
Of course Warner Bros. fully supports this move, but were they a cause of the decision not to direct. We can only speculate. Let’s just hope that the script is a masterpiece. Ben Affleck is a very talented director, but there are many people that are capable of handling Batman (and his gallery of villains) well. Before minds start racing through possible candidates for who will occupy the director’s chair, there is already a rumored shortlist of hopefuls. At the moment, Matt Reeves, Gavin O’Connor, Denis Villeneuve, Matt Ross, and George Miller. That’s right, THAT George Miller.
Let’s just have a look at some films from these directors and try to imagine what they might bring to the table. Let’s begin with George Miller. Miller has directed some colorfully dark films in the last thirty years. Yes, there were the Mad Max films, which recently dazzled audiences with Fury Road. But, he also directed a segment of The Twilight Zone: The Movie. The Witches of Eastwick was another great showing, and even Lorenzo’s Oil. That’s a pretty broad paintbrush. Each of those films, despite their differences, has a distinctive look and feel. Miller would no doubt present a gritty, very slick look at Gotham City.
Gavin O’ Connor has provided very intense work, and good reason to cheer if he gets the chair. Despite what The Accountant did at the box office, it was a visceral thriller with great action scenes. The thought of him working with Affleck again and letting Batman dish out similar justice is very exciting. If The Accountant wasn’t your cup of tea, perhaps Warrior starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton was a fit.
Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049. Those are some pretty big movies to throw around and they’re all directed by the same person; Denis Villeneuve. Blade Runner may not have released yet, but the other films are very recent and have been met with great praise. Prisoners was visually dark in a bright town. Sicario is a great example that if Villeneuve needs to turn up the adrenaline, he’s more than able. And, Arrival’s sci-fi backbone may be very different from Batman’s town, but if Bats runs across any other villains beside Deadstroke this may become relevant.
Matt Ross may seem like a relative newcomer when compared to the other names in this list, but a fresh set of eyes could be exactly what this franchise needs. We’ve seen Zack Snyder’s take on Batman and Gotham City. We even got a peek at Gotham in Suicide Squad from David Ayers. But, Matt Ross could deliver a look and feel to that could make Dark Knight audiences clamor to return soon.
Matt Reeves has been busy in the Planet of the Apes franchise, directing Dawn of The Planet of the Apes, as well as War for The Planet of the Apes coming to theaters soon. But, do you recall the remake to Let The Right One In, Let Me In? That’s right, Reeves. What about Cloverfield? Reeves again, and those four films have elements that feel very true to Gotham City.
Any of these directors would be exciting news for fans of DC and/or the DCEU. Let us know which of these directors sounds the most exciting, and of course if there’s a name you would love to be in contention; let’s discuss.