Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and wife Deborah Snyder have decided to step away from their roles as director and producer of the upcoming superhero movie Justice League due to a family tragedy, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter. Joss Whedon (The Avengers) will take Snyder’s place for the remainder of post-production.
Autumn Snyder, daughter of Zack and Deborah, died by suicide in March at age 20. News of the death was kept private. In an interview with THR, Snyder opened up about returning to Justice League after the tragedy:
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was way through it. 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.”
“What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart — our hearts — go out to them” said Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich.
The studio offered to push back the release date, but the Snyders decided against that. Joss Whedon will conclude the movie’s production, as well as write and direct a few additional scenes as per Zack Snyder’s request.
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” says 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.”
Justice League is set for a November 17, 2017 release date.