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.”
Perhaps he wasn’t aware he was being considered, but an amusing footnote to the tale nonetheless.