Zack Snyder has stepped away from the upcoming Justice League movie, citing the death of his daughter.
“I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me,” the director told The Hollywood Reporter. Snyder’s wife, Deborah, will also be taking a break from her producer role on the film as they focus on the healing of their family.
Justice League, which is currently in post-production, is still on target for its November 17th, 2017 release. Avengers filmmaker Joss Whedon will step in for Snyder and see the project to fruition, handling all post work and reshoots. Whedon was actually brought on a few weeks ago to write new scenes after Snyder screened a first cut of the movie to friends and colleagues. Snyder had planned to shoot the additional footage himself in England, but has asked Whedon to take over so he can remain with his family.
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” said Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich. “We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing a baton to Joss but the course has really been set by Zack. I still believe that despite this tragedy, we’ll still end up with a great movie.”
Snyder’s 20-year-old daughter, Autumn, died by suicide in March. Her death had been kept private, even when production on Justice League went on a two-week hiatus. Snyder thought diving back into work might be a cathartic way through his sorrow, but soon realized he could not continue being away from his family. When he decided to step back from Justice League permanently, he also knew he would have to get in front of any Internet chatter by revealing the true reason for his departure.
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” Snyder said. “I thought it would just be in the family, a private matter, our private sorrow that we would deal with. When it became obvious that I need to take break, I knew there would be narratives created on the internet. They’ll do what they do. The truth is … I’m past caring about that kind of thing now.”
“I want the movie to be amazing and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison,” he continued. “I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie but there are seven other kids that need me. In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.”