A terrible family tragedy has forced Zack Snyder to step down from his work on the upcoming DCEU film, Justice League, which is currently in post-production, he revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. Snyder’s wife and producing partner, Deborah Snyder, will also be taking a break. The Avengers (and soon to be Batgirl) director Joss Whedon will be taking over and finishing Justice League, in order to keep it on track.
In March, Snyder’s daughter Autumn committed suicide at the age of 20. Snyder initially planned to continue to work on Justice League, even after taking two weeks off to cope with the tragic loss, but understandably, it became too much to deal with.
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was a way through it,” Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter today, with his wife Deborah sitting by 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.”
Warner Bros. is supporting the Snyders during this difficult time. “What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart — our hearts — go out to them,” says Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich.
Warner Bros. suggested delaying the release of Justice League so that Snyder could finish the movie himself, but he rejected that idea. After seeing a rough cut, Snyder decided that he wanted to add more scenes to Justice League. He brought in Joss Whedon to write them. As Snyder was getting ready to head back to London to shoot the additional scenes, he realized he could no longer finish the project himself.
“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.”
It sounds like Snyder went public with this personal news because he knew how his critics would react if they heard he was stepping down without context.
“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 it…I’m past caring about that kind of thing now.”
This is such a heartbreaking situation and our thoughts, prayers, and love are with the entire Snyder family.
If you or someone you know is depressed or contemplating suicide, please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline right away.