Grieving family tragedy, Zack Snyder and wife step down from 'Justice League'

"In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie."

Grieving family tragedy, Zack Snyder and wife step down from 'Justice League'

Director Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder attend the 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' New York premiere at Radio City Music Hall on March 2016 [Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/DPA/PA Images]

Hollywood director Zack Snyder has revealed that he will step down from completing the Warner Bros. superhero film Justice League while grieving the death of his 20-year-old daughter Autumn, who died by suicide in March.

Snyder, who has led the creative team on the DC Extended Universe franchise, will take time away from the project, along with his wife Deborah, who is a producer on Superman and Batman film series. Autumn was the filmmaker’s child from a previous marriage, but Zack and Deborah Snyder had shared parenting duties on their seven children and step-children.

“I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie and be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me,” Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter.

Autumn Snyder, a student at Sarah Lawrence College, died in March, though her family chose not to reveal any details until this week. The 20-year-old had previously completed a sci-fi novel, which the Snyders hope to posthumously publish.

“In the end [Autumn] didn’t make it, but her character does, and I think there would be something cathartic for people,” the director said.

Synder originally returned to work after a two-week hiatus to finish the superhero film, which is slated for worldwide release on November 17th, but found balancing the workload with his family life hard to manage.

“The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all-consuming. And in the last two months, I’ve come to the realisation,” he said. “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.”

Joss Whedon, the director of rival Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, has now been brought in to direct a number of reshoots on the film. Snyder made the decision to add additional scenes to the film after screening a rough cut to friends, but with the production requiring on-location shoots in Britain, the director asked Whedon to take over for him.

“The directing is minima and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” said 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.”

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