It appears as though Ben Affleck will finally get around to his directorial follow-up to Argo this fall, but he’s already lining up his next project after that, and it’s a biggie. While he was inundated with offers after the success of his Best Picture-winning 2012 film, Affleck opted to focus on an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Prohibition-era crime thriller Live by Night as his next directorial project.
He intended to start shooting that in 2013, but the prospect of working with David Fincher on Gone Girl forced him to push filming to 2014. Then he was offered the chance to play Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so that pushed Live by Night even further, and he most recently completed shooting the starring role in Gavin O’Connor’s action drama The Accountant.
But now Variety reports that Live by Night has been given a greenlight by Warner Bros. with plans to start filming this November, so it appears that Affleck is once and for all turning his attention to the pic. He’s already set Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, and Zoe Saldana to star opposite himself, but it’s unclear how/if the new production schedule will affect the film’s October 7, 2016 release date.
However, that’s not the biggest Affleck directing news of the day. Seemingly confirming earlier rumors that the actor/filmmaker would be directing a standalone Batman movie, Deadline reports that Affleck is indeed working with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns on the screenplay for a standalone Batman movie that Affleck will co-write, direct and star in—after Live by Night, of course.
Per Deadline, Affleck and Johns are “in sync” and may even finish the script for this Batman movie before the end of the summer, at which time Affleck will turn his attention to Live by Night. The report says it’s not entirely clear when the Batman movie will be slotted in the DC Movie Universe, but it’s a priority and could result in the shifting of other films. Snyder is expected to begin production on Justice League Part One sometime next year for a November 2017 release, and Patty Jenkins continues to develop Wonder Woman with an eye towards that film’s June 23, 2017 release date. It’s possible Batman could shoot after Wonder Woman for a 2018 release.
Either way, this is all very exciting news. We’re not only getting an Affleck-helmed Batman movie, but we now know that he’ll definitely get to the extremely promising Live by Night first. I expect we’ll hear more details about this plan at the Warner Bros. Presentation at Comic-Con on Saturday, so stay tuned to Collider for our continued coverage from San Diego.