He’s better known for dating Jennifer Lawrence these days, but there’s no doubt about director Darren Aronofsky’s pedigree. Just think movies like Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and the currently screening Mother!
And once upon a time, long before Christopher Nolan made his Batman trilogy, Aronofsky was approached by Warners to revamp the Caped Crusader. Back in 1999, the now 48-year-old was asked to adapt Batman: Year One, the classic Frank Miller tale.
But it never did happen for Aronofksy. In a recent interview to promote Mother!, the filmmaker elaborated on why his project never got off the ground:
“It’s funny, I think we were just sort of out of time with our idea. “I understood that [with] comics, there’s room for all different types of titles, but I think Hollywood at that time was still in the Golden Age of comics, and they were still just doing the classic titles in classic ways.”
Aronofsky initially wanted to adapt another Miller story, “The Dark Knight Returns”, starring Clint Eastwood (!) as an older, weary Batman. (TDKR was later incorporated into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by Zack Snyder to horrifying effect).
While Warners liked the idea, Aronofsy was assigned to adapt “Year One”. And he knew exactly who he wanted to cast: Joaquin Phoenix. But ultimately, Warners abandoned this R-rated plans and turned instead to Nolan. Phoenix was reportedly considered for BvS too, but the role ultimately went to Ben Affleck.
There have been numerous DC reboots that have been mooted and then abandoned over the years. For example, Nicolas Cage (yes, that Nicolas Cage) was once slated to play Superman. But one can only imagine what Aronofsky might have done with The Dark Knight.