“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said in a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter). “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.”
Affleck first portrayed Batman in 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, taking over the Bruce Wayne role from Christian Bale. Affleck’s Batman also appeared briefly in Suicide Squad and will reprise the role in the upcoming Justice League movies.
In April 2016, Warner Bros. announced that Affleck would star in and direct the first standalone Batman film since 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. However, in recent months, Affleck hinted that he was apprehensive about helming The Batman, citing concerns about the script.
“Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film,” Affleck said in Monday’s statement. “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.”
Warner Bros. added, “Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.”
No release date for the film has been announced, but the blockbuster’s villain was revealed to be Deathstroke, played by Joe Manganiello.