Ben Affleck no longer directing Batman standalone movie

Ben Affleck, who played Batman in last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and reprises the role in this November’s “Justice League,” has stepped down as director of a planned solo film, “The Batman.” He will still play the Caped Crusader.

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck, 44, said of the DC Comics superhero in a statement first given to Variety. “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.”

He added that, “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.”

The studio said in a statement that it “fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a stand-alone Batman picture to life.”

Affleck, who co-wrote the script with comic-book writer and screenwriter Geoff Johns (the upcoming movie “Wonder Woman,” TV’s “The Flash”), has been attached to a solo Batman movie since at least March, when one of his agents, Patrick Whitesell, told The Hollywood Reporter, “There’s a script that he’s written that is a really cool idea, so that’s out there as an option.”

Warner Bros., after hinting in April that Affleck was directing, confirmed it at Comic-Con in July. But early this January, the Oscar-winning writer-producer told the British newspaper The Guardian, that the film was “not a set thing and there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it.”