In yet another rather unexpected twist regarding the #DCEU, we just learned that Ben Affleck officially will not be directing The Batman. Affleck claimed that he doesn't feel like he could devote the right amount of time to both directing and acting, so he has stepped down from the director's chair and will just appear in the film as an actor.
Obviously, this leaves a pretty big void regarding The Batman and is yet another hit to the already problematic #DCExtendedUniverse. With an empty director's chair, it brings in the question of whether Affleck is honestly stepping down knowing that he couldn't do both, or if the studio was yet again overstepping its boundaries and trying to rush the film before it is ready. We all can't forget what happened with #SuicideSquad in 2016.
Whichever question is more valid, Warner Bros. now has the task of searching for a new director.
Who Else Could Direct The Batman?
If the constant competition between studios has taught us anything, it's that unconventional choices can turn out to be absolutely amazing. Looking at the success Disney has had from James Gunn and Peyton Reed with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man (and even Gareth Edwards with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), you would think it could show Warner Bros. that an irregular choice might just be the right one — maybe even for The Batman.
As a fan of comic book movies in general, it has become clear to me over the past couple of years that the most obvious choice isn't always the best one. After directing films like Sucker Punch, 300 and Watchmen, #ZackSnyder was handed the reigns for Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and both Justice League installments. Because obviously, right? Well, that doesn't mean it was a good choice.
Batman v. Superman received overwhelmingly negative reviews from both fans and critics, while Man of Steel is sitting on a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. We will see how Justice League goes, but the indefinite delay of the second installment is questionable.
As interesting (and potentially awesome) as it would have been to have Affleck in the director's chair as well as in the Batsuit, it is time to start exploring other possibilities regarding who could fill the void. And just to say, there is one very unconventional option who's already floating around the DCEU...and his name is #JaredLeto.
Wait, Jared Leto Is A Director?
Before you complain about how horrible you thought Leto was as #TheJoker and how he would be a terrible choice to direct, let's just take a minute to actually talk about this idea. Yes, it would be very unconventional and unexpected, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would be bad. Based on Leto's existing resume, there's no way to really deny the fact that along with being an Oscar-winning actor, he is a credible (and award winning) director and producer.
Aside from directing a total of nine short-film music videos (under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins) for his band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Leto has directed three documentary series as well as a feature-length documentary called Artifact. He even won a Gotham Award for his work with Artifact, as well as the People's Choice Award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
Beyond the Horizon partnered with AOL and showcased notable figures in science, art and politics such as Al Gore, Edward Snowden and Deepak Chopra, whereas Great Wide Open partnered with Budweiser and Find Your Park to showcase the American National Park Service. His third series, Into the Wild, documents (in 17 parts) his band's Guinness World Record-setting, two-year tour in support of their album This Is War.
It's also worth mentioning that these projects are all produced and edited in-house under his own production company, the Sisyphus Corporation, so he definitely knows what he's doing behind the scenes.
Now, if you've seen any of Leto's work behind the camera, you are well aware of how "out of the box" it can be. It's no secret that most directors have a signature style and he is no exception. He seems to strive to search for another way to look at the subject matter, and relays the media and information in a way that not a lot of directors that I've seen do. When thinking about how this would translate into the DCEU, the thought only makes me more curious about what it could bring not only to the universe as a whole, but specifically to The Batman.
Whether you liked him as the Joker or not, you can't deny that he did his research on his character and no doubt knows the Batman universe quite well as a result.
Choosing someone like Jared Leto would definitely break the DCEU mold, and it would challenge both the studio and the actors involved to search for a different way to bring Batman to the light on his own. Similar to what Marvel Studios did with hiring James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy, that kind of unexpected and alternative choice might just be the best decision Warner Bros. could make right now.
Christopher Nolan was even a bit of a questionable choice to some back in 2005, but he wound up making perhaps the best superhero film ever created with The Dark Knight.
Would The Joker Have A Future If Jared Leto Directed The Batman?
Despite calls from fans to include the Joker in more of the future DCEU releases, there is still no official word from Warner Bros. on exactly how involved Jared Leto will be. Some have even predicted that we won't ever see the Joker again because of the way Suicide Squad was received.
We can't forget that Leto signed a multi-film deal when he came on board as the Joker, so he will likely appear in some way for future installments. It might be very small cameos or a major role in The Batman or #GothamCitySirens, but we can rest assured that there's no doubt more on the way. After all, he was teasing the Joker on his official Snapchat and Twitter accounts just over a week ago.
However, if Leto stepped into the director's chair for The Batman, I don't think we would see a lot of the Joker in the film. The way that Leto devotes himself to the role he's currently working on is pretty unique and it would be tough to continuously break that focus. He has done double-duty for his work on music videos and documentary series, but he has seemed to stick to a form of "method acting" when it comes to feature films.
I don't think it would be ideal to have Batman's solo movie directed by someone completely immersed in the persona of the Joker.
Personally, I would love to see Warner Bros. take a stab at such an unconventional directing choice. We all thought the arrival of David Ayer for Suicide Squad was as irregular as it would get, and we saw how the studio stepped in to alter the original vision for his film. However, they are giving Ayer a chance at redemption with Gotham City Sirens, so it's possible that the studio is finally listening to fan feedback and going with directors who want to bring something different to the table.
At the end of the day, many directors could replace #BenAffleck and helm The Batman, but Warner Bros. has a potentially awesome option with Jared Leto. He's already contractually obligated to the DCEU, and I'd even go far enough to say that the studio owes him after the disastrous treatment of his character in Suicide Squad. Only time will tell with this one, but I am all for an alternative choice that might not be so obvious to us.
Are you disappointed that 'The Batman' won't be directed by Ben Affleck?
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