While we've covered several angles of the "Ben Affleck Steps Down As Director Of The Batman" story, there's one detail floating around that few have seized on, including us.
See, Affleck is a true student of the game. He loves making movies and, for him, it's serious business. He's not the kind of Hollywood type who'll rush into a production without being confident in the script. Practically every comment he's ever made about The Batman, up until his decision to bow out of the director's chair, was about the script, the script, the script!
Yup. Every time he was asked about The Batman over the course of the last two years, his response included some variation of the following:
"It's coming along. We're working on the script. I won't make it until the script is ready. I'm not tied down to a release date. It's all about getting the script in great shape first."
I'm paraphrasing, of course, but you get the point. Affleck's top priority was making sure The Batman would have a dynamite script. As recently as January 1st, he made it clear that if he couldn't get the script where he wanted it, he simply wouldn't make the movie. Strong words.
That's why when the news broke on Monday night, the subtext was, "Well, I guess he didn't manage to get the script in good enough shape so he's handing it off."
And yet, what is the state of the script for The Batman? To hear Affleck say it, in that same January 1st interview, the movie had "no script." But according to Deadline, things were much farther along than his public comments seemed to indicate.
The trusted outlet says that Affleck and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns actually completed a draft of the script, and had gone so far as to hand it off to Chris Terrio for a rewrite. Terrio wrote Argo for Affleck, and he was also brought on to doctor the scripts for both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. It's clear that Affleck trusts him.
While it's unclear how long ago they handed the Batman script over to Terrio, it must have been a considerable time ago because the writer apparently had enough time to complete a rewrite and bring it back to Affleck. What we can then surmise is that Affleck saw Terrio's rewrite, didn't think it sufficiently improved upon what he'd created with Johns, and decided it was time to step down.
That Affleck thinks that the collected work of Johns, Terrio, and himself wasn't enough to make a script worth directing says a lot about the state of the script.
It calls to mind that juicy gossip from last year, where Bret Easton Ellis said he'd heard the script for The Batman was a total disaster. Ellis also said he was given the impression that Warner Bros. didn't really care, and that they just wanted to get a Batman movie made.
Paints an interesting picture, doesn't it?
What do you make of all this? Does it surprise you that a script with the names Ben Affleck, Geoff Johns, and Chris Terrio on the front cover wasn't good enough to go into production with?