Zack Snyder Steps Down From ‘Justice League’ Due to Family Tragedy | Redux Reports | Warner Bros
Earlier today it was disclosed that Justice League director, Zack Snyder has stepped down from the project due to a recent family tragedy. The filmmaker’s daughter died by suicide in March, prompting him to take a break from the Warner Bros tent pole.
Buffy creator and Avengers big screen adapter, Joss Whedon, will finish the Warner Bros. superhero pic. Snyder said of his departure: “I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me.”
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The filmmaker revealed more in an interview on the WB lot:
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” he says. “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.”
Snyder similarly disclosed to The Hollywood Reporter that he is stepping away from Justice League, Warner Bros.’ all-star DC Comics superhero mega-movie currently in postproduction, in order to deal with the sudden death of his daughter. Snyder’s wife, Deborah Snyder, who is a producer on Justice League, will also be taking time to focus on the healing of their family.
Joss Whedon, who brought The Avengers to the big screen in way which appealed to audiences worldwide, will shepherd the movie through post and the shooting of some additional scenes. With Whedon’s help, the movie is still on track for a Nov. 17 release date.
Snyder’s daughter, Autumn Snyder, died by suicide in March at age 20. Her death has been kept private, with only a small inner circle aware of what happened, though the movie was put on a two-week break to give the Snyders time to deal with the immediate effects of the tragedy. Zack Snyder says he initially was eager to return to the film, which stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller.
“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,” says an emotional Snyder in an interview Monday in his office on the Warner Bros. lot, with Deborah at his side. “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.”
The studio is fully behind the move. “What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart — our hearts — go out to them,” says Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich.
The studio first floated the possibility of pushing back the release date of the movie, but the Snyders decided against doing so. Warners also extended Snyder’s first-look deal to give him time to work on other planned projects as soon as he returns to work.
Snyder, after screening a rough cut of Justice League for fellow filmmakers and friends, wanted to add additional scenes, so he brought Whedon on board to write them. But as he prepared to shoot the scenes in England, Snyder realized it was not the time to leave home.
“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.”
Warner Bros.previously dealt with tragedy affecting a high-profile DC movie in 2008 when Heath Ledger passed away after shooting had wrapped for The Dark Knight but prior to the movie being finished and released. The studio and filmmaker Christopher Nolan had to navigate mourning the actor while releasing the movie worldwide.
The death of Autumn, Zack’s daughter from his first marriage (in addition to Autumn, he and Deborah have been raising seven kids and step-kids), has brought a new perspective and a new focus for him. “I want the movie to be amazing and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison,” he says. “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.”
Autumn, who was attending Sarah Lawrence College, loved “to write, to write, to write,” says Deborah. Their daughter had written a sci-fi fantasy novel in the first person. It featured a character who was an outsider and who had trouble fitting in.
The Snyders would like to someday see that manuscript published, with the proceeds going to a charity. “In the end, she didn’t make it, but her character does, and I think there would be something cathartic for people,” says Zack.
The thought of his daughter’s writing prompts Zack to recall another memory. Autumn had a quote that she included in everything she wrote. It’s from author, Chuck Palahniuk: “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
“Maybe this helps,” Zack says.
Justice League Synopsis:
Months after the events of Batman v Superman and inspired by Superman’s sacrifice for humanity, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince assemble a team of metahumans consisting of Barry Allen, Arthur Curry and Victor Stone to face the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons who are on the hunt for three Mother Boxes on Earth.
Watch the trailer: