Director Darren Aronofsky revealed he wanted Joker star Joaquin Phoenix to play Batman in his unmade film about the Caped Crusader.
In the early 2000s, Warner Bros. enlisted Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky to write and helm an adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. After collaborating with Miller on the script, Darren Aronofsky’s Batman eventually failed to develop and the filmmaker recently revealed how Joker star Joaquin Phoenix factored into his original plans.
During an interview with Empire, Darren Aronofsky revealed that he wanted Joaquin Pheonix to portray Batman for his film. However, he realized the studio was looking for a different take on the Caped Crusader when the executives explained they wanted Freddie Prinze Jr. to play the Dark Knight:
“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.”
Darren Aronofsky added that it was still exciting to have worked with Frank Miller before briefly delving into his approach to Batman before the project fell apart:
“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. That’s where my head went.”
After Darren Aronofsky exited the project, director Christopher Nolan was tapped to helm what would become Batman Begins. As for Joaquin Phoenix, the acclaimed actor would eventually join the DC film family as the lead star of Joker, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Here is the official synopsis for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker:
Director Todd Phillips “Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.
Directed by Todd Phillips from a script he co-wrote with Scott Silver, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham.
Joker is now available on Digital HD, Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD.
Stay tuned for the latest news on the Batman film series as it develops.