Earlier this month, Ben Affleck appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live where he happily confirmed that he would be directing The Batman after previously stating in an interview that it was “not a set thing” and that “there’s no script.” However, it appears Affleck has changed courses once again and will be stepping down from his position as a director on the film and will instead focus on starring in the upcoming DC standalone superhero movie.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said in a statement, according 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. 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.”
In a separate statement, Warner Bros. said that they fully support Affleck’s decision and remain “committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.” Obviously, there were no hard feelings between Affleck and the studio and this was a decision that they come to together. When I first learned about the news, I curious as to whether or not the poor performance of Live By Night had anything to do with this situation given the fact that Affleck had written, directed, and starred in the film. Sources close to the project report that this decision was based solely upon what’s best for the project and had nothing to do with Affleck’s latest effort—but who knows? Maybe that was just one of many contributing factors.
Affleck had been working on the script for The Batman with DC Entertainment president and chief creative officer Geoff Johns. In September, it was confirmed by Johns that True Blood star Joe Manganiello would be playing Deathstroke, one of the most popular villains in the DC Universe. Manganiello offered an update the Caped Crusader’s solo outing months later, where he said that the film would “take this franchise in a direction that I think a lot of people are going to be really happy about” and that it will “be gritty and action packed and cerebral and all of those elements that people love about Batman.” Let’s just hope that whoever they find next to steer this movie creatively is able to keep all of those elements an important aspect of the film.
You can see Affleck’s next appearance as Batman in Justice League which is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2017.
Nicolas Cage to play Nicolas Cage in meta drama ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’
In a rather extremely unexpected development, Lionsgate is close to nearing a deal to acquire the rights to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a film that will find Nicolas Cage playing none other than Nicolas Cage, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film, written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, centers on a fictionalized version of Cage who “is desperate to get a role in a new Tarantino movie while also dealing with a strained relationship with his teenage daughter.”
The plot only gets more bizarre from there, however, as Cage “is also under a mountain of debt and finds himself forced to make an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire, who happens to be a fan of Cage’s work.”
It isn’t long, though, before Cage finds out that the billionaire “is actually a drug cartel kingpin who has kidnapped the daughter of a Mexican presidential nominee,” and that he will need to go undercover for the United States government to gather intelligence.
Gormican and Etten’s script reportedly features references to Cage classics such as Face-Off, Leaving Las Vegas, and Gone in 60 Seconds, and is tonally similar to JCVD starring John Claude Van Damme and Get Shorty starring John Travolta.
Cage is currently in talks to join the meta movie project, which has Gromican attached to direct and Kevin Turen to produce along with Cage and Mike Nilon.
Taika Waititi’s ‘Next Goal Wins’ rounds out its cast as production gets underway in Hawaii
Fox Searchlight announced Wednesday that it has acquired worldwide rights to Next Goal Wins, writer-director Taika Waititi’s follow-up to his World War II satire Jojo Rabbit, which opened in theaters last month.
Production is currently underway in Honolulu, Hawaii on the film, which stars Michael Fassbender and Elisabeth Moss and tells the story of the American Samoa soccer team, who suffered the most devastating loss in World Cup history, losing to Australia 31-0 in 2001. With the 2014 World Cup approaching, the team recruits a down on his luck, maverick coach (Fassbender) to help turn their fate around.
In addition to Fassbender and Moss, the film’s cast also includes the likes of Oscar Kightley, Beulah Koale, Lehi Falepapalangi, Uli Latukefu, Rachel House, and Kaimana in their debut role.
“I’ve just started production on my next film Next Goal Wins,” Waititi said in a statement. “We have such an amazing cast and crew behind this film, and I’m stoked to be partnering once again with the lovely people at Fox Searchlight Pictures.”
Waititi wrote the script for Next Goal Wins along with Iain Morris, based on the 2014 documentary of the same name. Jonathan Cavendish, Garrett Basch, and Waititi are producers, with Andy Serkis, Will Tennant, and Kathryn Dean executive producing.
“Taika is an incredible talent and master at bringing honesty and humanity to the surface in any story. We are thrilled to be working with him again on such an extraordinary true story of perseverance in the face of defeat. He has brought together a terrific group of actors, craftspeople and sports players to bring this unique story to life,” said Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum, presidents of production at Fox Searchlight.
Ben Affleck struggles with alcohol addiction, recovery in Gavin O’Connor’s ‘The Way Back’ trailer
Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for The Way Back, which finds director Gavin O’Connor reuniting with his The Accountant star Ben Affleck for what appears to be a heavier sort of sports drama that explores alcohol addiction and recovery.
Affleck stars here as Jack Cunningham, a one-time high school sports prodigy whose life is spiraling downward due to the alcoholism that cost him his marriage and any hope for a better life for himself.
However, Jack’s opportunity for a better life eventually comes when he’s asked to go back to his alma mater to coach the basketball team, which has been underperforming and desperately needs new leadership in order to succeed this season.
Slowly but surely, the team starts to get their act together and manages to start winning some games, proving Jack’s ability to coach, but whether that’s enough to help him cope with his addiction and set him on the road to redemption remains to be seen.
Brad Ingelsby scripted the film, which is produced by O’Connor along with Gordon Gray, Jennifer Todd, and Ravi Mehta. Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, and Glynn Turman also star alongside Affleck.
The Way Back opens in theaters March 6, 2020.