Upcoming superhero film Justice League is getting a new director just six months from its release date. Joss Whedon is taking the reins from Zack Snyder, the director of superhero flicks Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, who is stepping aside to cope with his daughter's suicide. Autumn Snyder, the director's 20-year-old daughter from his first marriage, died March 12 while attending Sarah Lawrence College. Snyder says, "I never planned to make this public," and after an initial two-week break, he returned to work. But he says he's since come to realization that now is the time for family. "There are seven other kids that need me," he tells the Hollywood Reporter. "They are all having a hard time. I'm having a hard time."
Snyder's second wife, Deborah Snyder, is a producer on Justice League and will also step away to deal with the tragedy. "What they are going through is unimaginable, and my heart—our hearts—go out to them," says Warner Bros. Pictures president Toby Emmerich. The film has been shot save for some additional scenes that Snyder actually asked Whedon to write following a rough-cut screening. Emmerich says the directing by Whedon will "adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set." The New York Times calls such a move an "extremely rare" but not unprecedented occurrence when it comes to huge films, noting directors also exited Gone With the Wind and the Wizard of Oz mid-production. The AP reports Autumn Snyder's death is being investigated as a possible suicide due to a prescription-drug overdose. (Read more Zack Snyder stories.)