A Darren Aronofsky-Directed “Batman” Movie Almost Happened––With Joaquin Phoenix As Batman

April 18, 2020 / Posted by:

More news from the movie franchise that just refuses to die. For anybody interested, the never-ending subject of “who should be the next Batman” now features another missed contender to add to its complicated history––only this one is the most random AND the least likely to ever come to light.

According to Empire, director Darren Aronofsky, famous for creating so many lighthearted, feel-good projects like Black Swan, Requiem For A Dream, and The Wrestler, was originally tapped to direct a Batman movie in the early-aughts. And the details surrounding why it never got off the ground features multiple “huhs?” and “WTFs?”

Apparently, Warner Bros. studios wanted Darren to helm the movie with Freddie Prinze, Jr. starring as the caped crusader. Darren, understandably said “fuck that” before offering up Joaquin Phoenix as a more suitable option. And, also understandably, the studio wasn’t into that and gave the project to Christopher Nolan instead, who went on to make multiple movies with Christian Bale in the lead.

Recounting the decision, Darren said:

“The studio wanted Freddie Prinze, Jr and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix,” he recalls. “I remember thinking, ‘Uh oh, we’re making two different films here.’ That’s a true story. It was a different time. The Batman I wrote was definitely a way different type of take than they ended up making.”

Uh, no shit. Although, what Christopher Nolan’s Batman series was missing as an ass-to-ass scene with Batman and Robin.

In fact, according to Darren, Frank Miller, graphic novelist and writer of The Dark Knight Returns, who was supposed to assist with screenwriting, was freaked out by Darren’s vision:

Apparently even the hard-boiled writer was shocked by how dark Aronofsky was looking to go, with Batman veering into torture territory. “The Batman that was out before me was Batman & Robin, the famous one with the nipples on the Batsuit, so I was really trying to undermine that, and reinvent it,” Darren explains. “That’s where my head went.”

But seriously, can you imagine a younger and less kooky Joaquin as a superhero? Instead of a bat suit, he’d wear the same organically sourced pleather ensemble every day. Then he’d go putting around all over town in an electric hybrid Batmobile, while slapping glasses of milk out of people’s hands. Here’s hoping that someday Joaquin and Darren both become hard up enough for cash and make this remake happen. Preferably with Joaquin’s girlfriend Rooney Mara as a lifeless and dreary Catwoman, who wears lots of heavy knits and spends her days sleeping and staying out of the sun (not a stretch).

Pic: Wenn.com

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