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Darren Aronofsky Wanted Joaquin Phoenix For His Batman Film, But The Studio Desired An Entirely Different Actor

Darren Aronofsky, the director behind cinematic mind-f*cks like Requiem for a Dream and mother!, was hired by Warner Bros. to direct a Batman film. It went as well as you might expect. The film was going to be based on Frank Miller’s legendary Batman: Year One story with some key differences, according to the Batman wiki, including “the Batmobile would have been a Lincoln Continental” and “after Bruce Wayne’s parents are shot, Bruce loses his fortune and becomes homeless.” But the project fell apart when Aronofsky realized he had a different vision for the Dark Knight than the studio.

“The studio wanted Freddie Prinze, Jr. and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix,” he told Empire. “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.” What “they” ended up making Batman Begins, which turned out pretty well for everyone involved, and Phoenix won an Oscar for playing the Joker. Aronofsky, too, has been up for an Academy Award (Best Director for Black Swan), but he has an even rarer distinction: he’s one of the few people who has “shocked” Frank Miller:

Apparently even [Miller] was shocked by how dark Aronofsky was looking to go, with Batman veering into torture territory. “The Batman that was out before me was Batman & Robin, the famous one with the nipples on the Batsuit, so I was trying to undermine that, and reinvent it,” he explains. “That’s where my head went.”

You think that’s dark?

Stayed tuned for Batman v God: The Holy (Year) One.

(Via Empire)