After the failure of Batman & Robin in 1997, Warner Bros. decided to take Batman in a different direction. They hired Darren Aronofsky (hot-off Pi and Requiem for a Dream) to develop a take on Frank Miller’s seminal tale, Batman: Year One but ‘creative differences’ meant that the film never came to fruition.
20 years on and Aronofsky has opened up a bit about what the film would have been like. The big surprise is that he wanted Joaquin Phoenix to take on the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Unfortunately, the studio wanted Freddie Prinze Jr. The irony being that Joaquin Phoenix went on to have huge critical and commercial success playing the Joker.
Aronofsky devulged the below to Empire…
“The studio wanted Freddie Prinze Jr and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix. 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.”
“It was an amazing thing because I was a big fan of his graphic novel work, so just getting to meet him was exciting back then. The Batman that was out before me was ‘Batman & Robin,” the famous one with the nipples on the Batsuit, so I was really trying to undermine that, and reinvent it. That”s where my head went.”
Source: Empire via Dark Horizons