Zack Snyder exits ‘Justice League’ after daughter’s death

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Director Zack Snyder attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 10, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The recent death of director Zack Snyder’s daughter has driven the prominent filmmaker to step away from finishing the ensemble superhero movie “Justice League.”

A source close to production who was not authorized to speak publicly said Monday that director Joss Whedon would take over completing the film, which should still hit its Nov. 17 release.

Snyder and his wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter they will be using the time away to focus on their family and seven children.

The Reporter story stated Snyder’s 20-year-old daughter, Autumn, killed herself in March. Coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter said Autumn Snyder’s March 12 death is being investigated as a possible suicide due to an overdose of prescription medications. The official cause of death has been deferred pending toxicology results.

Snyder told the magazine that at first he tried to throw himself back into work, but in the past two months realized he needed to be with his family — especially as additional photography shoots in London loomed on the horizon.

“They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time,” Snyder said.

The Snyders are cornerstone players in Warner Bros. production of DC Comics films. He directed both “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Man of Steel” and is serving as a producer on the additional films in the DC Universe, including last year’s “Suicide Squad” and the upcoming “Wonder Woman.”

“Justice League” is a critical entry in the slate of DC films, bringing together major superheroes like Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller’s The Flash and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman.

Whedon, who directed the Marvel Comics ensemble films “The Avengers” and its sequel “Age of Ultron,” and is writing and directing “Batgirl” for Warner Bros., has been working with Snyder on “Justice League” for over a month. In addition to post-production work, Whedon will also shoot some additional scenes for the film.

Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich told the Reporter that the additional scenes will adhere to the style and template set by Snyder.

Snyder said he knows fans will be worried about the film without him at the helm.

But, he added, “In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.”

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