Ben Affleck Out as Batman Director

Variety dropped a bombshell early Monday night when they learned that Ben Affleck had stepped down from the directors chair for the standalone Batman movie Warner Bros and DC is developing. He will still be in it as the Batman as well writing and producing the movie, but he will no longer direct it. Here is Affleck’s quote:

“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.”

This really worries me and makes me wonder what the hell is going on behind the scenes at Warner Bros. I know I said that last week with The Flash rewrite news, but this scares me more. Affleck has been saying forever that he was going to direct this movie and even confirmed it a few weeks ago in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. He also said at one point that if the script was not up to par then he would not direct. Plus in the quote above he mentions that he cannot do both jobs to the level “they ” require. All of these things are red flags for me and I honestly do not have much hope for the DC movies heading forward. It might be time to hit the panic button.

Antoine Fuqua Exits Scarface Remake

This was a bad week for directors as Variety also reported on Monday that Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer, The Magnificent Seven) has dropped out of directing Universal’s Scarface remake. Fuqua ran into scheduling conflicts with the sequel of The Equalizer that he is developing at Sony. Universal has immediately started looking for a new director at this time so that they get still meet their intended production schedule. With this news came the tidbit that Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is attached to play the lead. I am kind of excited for this movie because the Scarface story line is one that could very easily be reimagined in different time periods with different characters. This one is set to take place in Los Angeles following a Mexican immigrant. Depending on what director they get this could end up being just as good as Brian de Palma’s remake.

Mel Gibson and John Lithgow Offered Daddy’s Home 2

One of the surprise hits of late 2015 was Paramount’s comedy Daddy’s Home starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Now, as with most successful movies in Hollywood today, a sequel had been put into development with a release date of November 10th this year. The story will reportedly center around the dads of Ferrell and Wahlberg’s characters and Deadline reports there are offers out to Mel Gibson and John Lithgow to play those roles. This is very interesting to say the least and would make an interesting step in Gibson’s Hollywood comeback. This is not a done deal by any means and will be very interesting to see if Gibson actually does sign on. Stay tuned for more information.

Aquaman Adds to Cast

Despite all of the murkiness surrounding most of the DC movies the most promising project is actually Aquaman. They have an amazing director in James Wan and a great cast so far with Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson and Willem Dafoe. Wilson will be playing one of the villains of the movie Orm a.k.a Ocean Master and apparently Warner Bros has cast another villain. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down) will playing the villain Black Manta in the movies. Abdul-Mateen is a relative unknown with pretty much just the Netflix series The Get Down in his credits, but since that show debuted he has booked a number of high profile roles. Not too long after this first report The Hollywood Reporter came back with another saying that Nicole Kidman is in early talks to play Aquaman’s mother in the film. Kidman would be another high profile get for Warner Brothers and definitely cement this movie as the most intriguing on DC’s slate.

Leo Lines Up New Movie

Deadline is reporting that Paramount has acquired the rights to Stephan Talty’s book The Black Hand for Leonardo DiCaprio to star in. The Black Hand tells the story of Joe Petrosino, an NYPD cop who went after a ruthless gang that came out of Italy and to America which kidnapped people and then extorted money from their families in turn of the century New York. The group’s calling card was a black hand and they were a precursor to the American mafia. This sounds like it is right in DiCaprio’s wheelhouse so there is a lot to be excited about. Hopefully they pull in a high profile director and then this movie will shoot up a lot of people’s most anticipated lists.

That’s it for this week’s big stories! Come back next Friday for all the biggest and best news in movies.