Zack Snyder is stepping away from the production of Justice League to deal with the sudden death of his daughter, the director tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Snyder's daughter, Autumn, died by suicide in March at the age of 20. The film initially took a two-week break from production so Snyder and his family could privately deal with the tragedy.
“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,” said an emotional Snyder in an interview Monday in his office on the Warner Bros. lot, with 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.”
Snyder's wife, Deborah Snyder, who is a producer on Justice League, also is taking a break to focus on the healing of their family.
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” Snyder says. “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.”
The film is currently in postproduction with a few additional scenes set to shoot. Snyder and Warner Bros. have hired Joss Whedon, who will be directing the upcoming Batgirl, to finish the film. “The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” says Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich. “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.”
“I want the movie to be amazing, and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison," Snyder says. “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."
Justice League is still scheduled for its November 17, 2017 release date. Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Snyder family.