Before Christopher Nolan gave us Batman Begins, it was Darren Aronofsky who was set to make his own gritty version of the Dark Knight. What’s interesting is he actually wanted Joaquin Phoenix, the star of Joker to play his Bruce Wayne.
Talking to Empire, Aronofsky explained that he wanted to have Joaquin Phoenix play Batman for his film, but WB wanted someone else to star. Aronofsky explained:
“The studio wanted Freddie Prinze Jr and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix… 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.”
If anything, Aronofsky really wanted a different take on Batman, seeing as the last Batman film before his version would have been the widely reviled Batman & Robin. It was said that Aronofsky’s version would have stripped the character to his bare bones, and would be something close to ‘torture territory’ with some influence from Frank Miller.
Personally, I don’t think too many people would have been pleased with this unique take on Batman, and it kind of made sense why WB would pick up Nolan’s version instead. If anything, I think Aronofsky’s take would have had a chance if they established a DC multiverse. If anything, it can work in the same realm as Todd Phillips’ Joker.
We don’t know if Aronofsky will ever take on the Caped Crusader again, but Matt Reeves’ The Batman is still set for a release on June 25, 2022.