Director Zack Snyder is no longer working on the upcoming Justice League film following the death of his daughter, The Hollywood Reporter announced on Monday. Joss Whedon, who directed The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, will direct the remainder of the project ahead of its November release.
Snyder's daughter, Autumn Snyder, died by suicide in March, according to THR. She was 20 years old and a student at Sarah Lawrence College. As THR notes, her passing was "kept private, with only a small inner circle aware of what happened."
"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 THR on Monday. "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 director also told THR that he never wanted the public to know about his daughter's passing.
"Here's the thing, I never planned to make this public," Snyder told THR. "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, the studio behind Justice League, issued a statement supporting Snyder's decision. "What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart — our hearts — go out to them," Warner Bros. president Toby Emmerich told THR.
"I want the movie to be amazing, and I'm a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison," Snyder told THR. "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."
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