In a recent interview with FirstShowing.Net, Aronofsky spoke about his defunct film adaptation of Batman: Year One. And as he revealed, the film's planned style lines up pretty closely with the Joker standalone movie that is currently in development.
"You know what, I think it's finally... I think we were basically, whatever it is, fifteen years too early." Aronofsky explained. "Because I hear the way they’re talking about the Joker movie and that's exactly – that was my pitch."
The Joker standalone, which comes from Martin Scorsese and The Hangover's Todd Phillips, brings the iconic DC villain into a gritty, early-80s world similar to Taxi Driver. According to Aronofsky, that aesthetic definitely would have been present in his Batman franchise.
"I was like: we're going to shoot in East Detroit and East New York." Aronofsky revealed. "We're not building Gotham. The Batmobile – I wanted to be a Lincoln Continental with two bus engines in it... With two bus engines, all duct taped together. It was the duct tape MacGyver Batman."
As it turns out, elements of Aronofsky's initial ideas did bleed into some of the subsequent Batman portrayals - including last year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
"Some of my ideas got out there through other films." Aronofsky added. "Like the ring with "BW", Bruce Wayne's ring making the scar was our idea and I think that was in Zack [Snyder's] or something. Which is fine, you write these ideas and they get out. We were all about reinventing it and trying to make it more Taxi Driver visceral. That was the whole pitch. But the toy people were like, "Oh it can't be a Lincoln Continental, you have to make a Batmobile."
Comic Book Movies Today
While Aronofsky's Batman franchise may not have hit the big screen, what does he think of the subsequent portrayals of The Dark Knight?
"I think with Chris [Nolan's] work, which was great, he hit it [out of the park]." Aronofsky revealed. "He was able to get the darkness in, and the psychology of the character, yet he was still able to give the gizmo thing, which I wasn't ever really interested in. So, I think that's the back story. I think we were ahead of our time."
As it turns out, Aronofsky was early to the trend of boundary-pushing R-rated comic book movies, such as Deadpool and Logan.
"I was always like; 'Why can't we make a more lower-budget rated-R [movie]?'" Aronofsky explained. "Just like in comics, you have different brands. And now they're finally doing that. They're doing the spinoffs, which is great. This is an exciting time because they'll be able to take more risks and we won't be seeing the same superhero movie over and over again. You'll get things like Deadpool, which was a relief as compared to seeing the same film over and over again."
Aronofsky also advocated for another upcoming comic book adaptation - HBO's in-development reboot of Watchmen.
"Watchmen as a TV show I think is fantastic." Aronofsky said. "I think that's perfect for that medium. And where it should have been, but [the production platform] didn't exist at that time. And I think they'll have much more fun in a more developed world."