Zack Snyder has stepped down from directing the forthcoming Justice League movie after suffering a family tragedy.
The majority of filming had already been completed on the film ahead of the change in Snyder’s circumstance.
In a new interview with his wife and Justice League producer Deborah, the director revealed to The Hollywood Reporter his 20-year-old daughter Autumn had taken her own life in March. He is now taking time off to look after the rest of his family as they come to terms with her death.
“In my mind, 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 said.
He continued: “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.”
Autumn was one of Snyder’s eight children and step-children and recently finished a sci-fi novel, which her father and step-mother hope will be published in the future. Snyder said he never intended to publicise news of his daughter’s death, but had no choice due to the high-profile nature of his job.
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” he explained. “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.”
Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich said the production company is supportive of Snyder’s decision. “What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart – our hearts – go out to them,” he said. “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.”
Snyder and Whedon have been working together to make the handover as smooth as possible, while the film’s original director said his priorities had changed since his daughter’s death.
“I want the movie to be amazing, and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison,” he said. “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.”