Darren Aronofsky once envisioned a different direction for Batman. And his choice for the lead is very ironic.
Darren Aronofsky Vs. Warner Bros. Post George Clooney’s Batman
The Black Swan filmmaker was once in the running to direct the next Batman film following Requiem For A Dream. Further, his storyline was going to be inspired by Frank Miller’s Year One.
“The Batman that was out before me was Batman and Robin, ” Darren explains, “[so] I was trying to [reinvent] it.”
However, Warner Bros. preference for the lead at the time contradicted his.
“[They] 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 definitely wrote was a different take than they ended up making.”
However, Prinze himself claims no truth to what he perceives as a rumor, tweeting it as “just internet stuff.”
Regardless, as history has shown, the studio went with Christopher Nolan’s vision, which evolved into The Dark Knight Trilogy. As for Phoenix, he would find notoriety as the lead in 2018’s Joker. His grounded, unique approach has earned multiple awards. Coincidentally, he had been friends with the late Heath Ledger, whose own take on the role in The Dark Knight earned him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Actor. And the studio is now proceeding – pandemic pending – with Matt Reeves’ The Batman with Robert Pattinson in the lead.