Joaquin Phoenix Could Have Played Batman In A Film By Black Swan Director
In an alternate universe, Phoenix played Batman for director Darren Aronofsky.
Following the success of director Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, Warner Bros. pursued him to direct a new Batman movie in the early 2000s. The movie never happened, but now, Aronofsky has shared some intriguing details about what the film might have offered, including its top talent.
The director told Empire that Warner Bros. wanted Freddie Prinze Jr. for the role of Batman, but he wanted to cast Joaquin Phoenix. This led to an impasse. "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," Aronofsky said.
Warner Bros. eventually hired Christopher Nolan to direct a new trilogy of Batman movies, with Christian Bale cast as the Caped Crusader. The movies were enormously successful, making around $2.4 billion at the global box office across three instalments: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Aronofsky's idea for a new Batman movie would have included "nods" to Death Wish, The French Connection, and Taxi Driver, according to Empire. Additionally, Batman comic writer Frank Miller was attached to write the script, but it was not meant to me.
Aronofsky said he was trying to set his Batman movie apart from Joel Schumacher's poorly received Batman & Robin, featuring George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell in the title roles. Aronofsky said that movie was known as "the famous one with the nipples on the Batsuit," and that he wanted to try to "undermine that" with his own film and "reinvent" the Batman series.
While Phoenix did not get to play Batman, he portrayed another Batman universe character, Arthur Fleck/The Joker, in Todd Phillips' Joker; he won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
In addition to Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky is known for directing the movies Pi (1998), The Fountain (2006), The Wrestler (2008), Black Swan (2010), Noah (2014), and Mother (2018).
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