While there were indications in the recent past, and body language, that Ben Affleck will not direct the next live-action Batman movie, it is now official. He has decided to step down as director of ‘The Batman’, but will remain on board as a producer and will star in the movie. Insider sources dished that the decision was reached with Warner Bros. after discussions on how best to make the film.

A statement from had Affleck explaining why he will not be directing the movie. He said: “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.”

There had been stories that Affleck was considering not directing the film during the past month, but in recent weeks, insiders say, he came to the decision it was best to let the directing job go, allowing him to focus on playing the part.

Warner Bros. insiders insist this decision was solely made based on what’s best for the project and nothing to do with the recent box office disappointment of Affleck’s recent movie, ‘Live by Night’, which the star directed. The search for a new director has begun, with a shortlist already in place, which includes ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ director Matt Reeves.

Warner Bros. released an official statement which said the studio fully supports Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.

Affleck has completed his part in ‘Justice League,’ expected to open Nov. 17.

By Justina Terhember