Director Zack Snyder steps down from ‘Justice League’ after daughter’s suicide

Deborah Snyder and Zack Snyder attend the European Premiere of "Suicide Squad" at the Odeon Leicester Square on August 3, 2016 in London, England. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Justice League director Zack Snyder has decided to step away from the project after a family tragedy.

Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, committed suicide in March at the age of 20. Snyder and his wife, Deborah, who is also a producer on the film, said they initially intended to keep the loss private but now both have decided to step away from the film.

“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,” Synder told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

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READ MORE: ‘Justice League’ trailer: The DC superheroes unite, minus Superman

“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” he says of his daughter’s death. “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 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.”

Autumn was Snyder’s daughter from his first marriage to Denise Weber, with whom he had three other children. He is also father to two children from a relationship with Kirsten Elin and has adopted two children with his second wife, Deborah Snyder.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed The Avengers, will step in to complete the movie as Snyder tends to family matters.

WATCH BELOW: Movie trailer for Justice League

Click to play video: 'Movie trailer: Justice League'
Movie trailer: Justice League

Whedon was initially brought on to write additional scenes for Snyder but when it came time to film them, Snyder decided not to leave his family. Warner Bros. officials decided to let Whedon take over the project.

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“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich said. “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.”

Justice League, which stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller, is set to hit theatres on Nov. 17.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionDepression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868  all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.


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