Filmmaker Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy has become one of the most celebrated series of comic book adaptations, noted for its gritty take on the superhero. Six years before that series started with Batman Begins, director Darren Aronofsky had hoped to take a similar approach to the character, selecting Joaquin Phoenix to become the Caped Crusader.
"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," the filmmaker told Yahoo! Movies. "I always wanted Joaquin Phoenix for Batman."
Tim Burton helped change the public's opinion of the Dark Knight with his 1989 film starring Michael Keaton. Prior to the more macabre and surreal film, Adam West's campy antics of the '60s were the most well-known incarnation of the character. By the time 1997's Batman and Robin came around, the cartoonishness was amped up, echoing the tone of West's Batman while offering a color palette more similar to Burton's.
With no real precedent of a more realistic comic book movie becoming successful, Aronofsky's initial meeting with Warner Bros. for an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns starring Clint Eastwood didn't gain any steam.
The filmmaker then chose a different route, focusing on adapting Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. The film would share a similar grittiness to Dark Knight Returns, but as it served as an origin story, would be more accessible to audiences.
The project might have never come to fruition, but many elements of Year One were eventually rolled into Nolan's Batman Begins.
Warner Bros. recently announced they'll be making a solo Joker film, with The Hangover's Todd Phillips and Martin Scorsese developing the film.
"I think audiences now, they've seen enough comic films that they're game for that," Aronofsky said of the Joker film. "So I think we were a little bit out of time for our idea."
Fans will next see Batman when Justice League opens on November 17.
[H/T Yahoo! Movies]
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