Was there a time we could have seen Joaquin Phoenix in a Batsuit as opposed to being the Joker? One director wanted to see it happen.
In the early part of the 2000s, Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Mother!) had a shot at a Batman movie following his success with Requiem for a Dream. His personal pick for the part of Bruce Wayne/Batman was Joaquin Phoenix, but it seems that Warner Bros. had a different idea.
“The studio wanted Freddie Prinze Jr and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix,” Aronofsky 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.”
According to the report, Aronofsky’s plan was to take a fairly close adaptation approach to Frank Miller’s Year One storyline. “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,” the director explained. “That’s where my head went.”
In an odd turn following this story, a Twitter user asked Prinze about the story, and it seems he thought it was a random rumor and not from the director of the project. “I wasn’t,” Prinze said in a tweet in regards to being considered for the role. “That’s just internet stuff with no sourcing what so ever.”
I wasn’t. That’s just internet stuff with no sourcing what so ever.
— Phreddie Prinze Jr. (@RealFPJr) April 17, 2020
Perhaps he wasn’t aware he was being considered, but an amusing footnote to the tale nonetheless.