Joker Star Joaquin Phoenix Was Darren Aronofsky’s Pick to Play Batman

Darren Aronofsky almost directed a Batman film for Warner Bros., though he and the studio couldn’t agree on a lead actor.

Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky was once slated to helm a Batman film. The project ultimately fell through, as Aronofsky and Warner Bros. had very different ideas regarding who should play the Dark Knight.

“The studio wanted Freddie Prinze Jr. and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix,” Aronofsky revealed in an interview with 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.”

Coincidentally, Joaquin Phoenix would end up playing Batman’s greatest enemy in the recently released film Joker, which was directed by Todd Phillips. As for Warner Bros.’ Batman film, the studio would eventually choose director Christopher Nolan to take the reins. Batman Begins — which starred Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader — hit theaters in 2005, and was followed up by 2008’s The Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Warner Bros. is once again developing a solo Batman film, this time with Matt Reeves directing and Robert Pattinson starring as the hero. Production on the film, titled The Batman, was recently put on hold due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and there is currently no word on when it will resume.

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