Joss Whedon is stepping in to complete fall’s “Justice League” from Zack Snyder, but only because of the saddest, most despairing reason: Snyder is taking a league of absence after the suicide of his daughter, Autumn. She died in March, at the age of 20, and though Snyder initially was going to finish the film, now in post-production and re-shoots, but he’s since decided otherwise.
“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,” Snyder told the Hollywood Reporter. “The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all-consuming.
“And in the last two months, 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.”
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Snyder had kept quiet about the tragedy, but he opened up about it, and for a very haunting reason, too.
“When it became obvious that I needed 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.”
Snyder had Autumn with his first wife, Denise Weber. The two share three other children. His second wife, Deborah Snyder, with whom he has adopted two other children, was a producer on “Justice League,” and she, too, stepped down to deal with their grief.
Snyder had previously directed “Man of Steel” and last year’s “Batman v Superman,” as well as “300” and “Watchmen.” “Justice League,” due for a Nov. 17 release, is his third DC outing. Whedon, meanwhile, is already set to helm “Batgirl,” and directed the two “Avengers” films for Marvel.
We don’t feel comfortable turning this into mere big movie news, so all we can say is that our hearts are with Snyder’s family in an unimaginably painful time.