Zack Snyder Exits JUSTICE LEAGUE Amid Family Tragedy; Joss Whedon to Finish Film
Zack Snyder, director of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the upcoming Justice League, is taking a leave from the superhero epic in response to the death of his daughter. Snyder’s daughter, Autumn Snyder, died from suicide in March. She was 20.
Snyder told THR that he’s stepping away from the film, set to release in November, to deal with the tragic situation. The filmmaker will step away alongside wife Deborah Snyder, also a producer on the film. Autumn’s death was originally kept private, with the Snyders taking time off for two-weeks to deal with the immediate effects of the tragedy, THR reports. Snyder was initially eager to get back to work on Justice League, before realizing the need to step away.
“I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was the way through it,” he shared Monday. “The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all-consuming. And in the last two months, I’ve come to the realization … I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me. They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time.”
Said Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich of the situation, “What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart — our hearts — go out to them.” THR reports Warners suggested delaying the release of the film, to which Zack and Deborah disagreed. Instead, Joss Whedon — the screenwriter and director of superhero team-up epics The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as WB’s recently announced Batgirl — was brought on to help finish the film by adding additional scenes.
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” Emmerich says of the additions, which are to be shot in England. “We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing the 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.”
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” admitted Snyder, who has in the past drawn ire of online fans in reaction to Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. “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 a 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,” said Snyder. “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.”
Justice League opens November 17th.