The acclaimed filmmaker behind Requiem for a Dream reveals that Warner Bros. passed on his Batman pitch due to its R rating.
Acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky reveals details about the R-rated Batman movie he pitched to Warner Bros. Aronofsky is the director behind some of the most acclaimed films of the 21st century, including Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan. The director’s latest film The Whale has garnered a great deal of awards buzz for star Brendan Fraser.
Aronofsky and Fraser have something specific in common as they were both involved in Batman-related movies that never happened. Fraiser was set to play Firefly in the recently canceled Batgirl movie while Aronofsky was one of the filmmakers who attempted to relaunch the Batman franchise after the disappointing reaction to Batman & Robin. Aronofsky’s pitch was inspired by Frank Miller’s Batman Year One comic, and the director brought Miller on board to co-write the script. The studio passed on the project and the movie eventually morphed into what would become Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins which relaunched the Batman film franchise for a new generation.
Variety, Aronofsky reveals that the biggest reason Warner Bros. passed on the project was the fact that it was R-rated. Aronofsky said that while the idea of an R-rated superhero movie was ahead of its time but is happy to see that there are R-rated superhero movies. He also revealed the film never got past the first draft, as the studio quickly rejected it and moved on. Read Aronofsky’s full quote below:Nolan and Aronofsky were both outside-the-box picks to direct a new Batman movie, yet many have wondered why the studio ended up backing Nolan’s take and rejecting Aronofsky’s pitch. In an interview with
“It was after ‘Batman & Robin,’ the Joel Schumacher one. That had been a big hiccup back then at Warner Bros., so I pitched them a rated-R, boiled down origin story of Batman. A rated-R superhero movie was probably 10 to 15 years out of whack with the reality of the business then. It had promise, but it was just a first draft. The studio weren’t really interested. It was a very different take…I was always saying, ‘why can’t there be several different types of comic book movies out there.’ Now there are. It’s just our timing was off.”
Aronofsky’s Batman Could Have Changed Superhero Movies Forever
Aronofsky began developing his Batman film in 2000, shortly after the premiere of Requiem for Dream at the Cannes Film Festival. One of his choices to play Batman was Joaquin Phoenix, who would eventually go on to play Batman’s arch-enemy the Joker in an R-rated film based on the character. Warner Bros.’s decision to pass on this one film resulted in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and the opportunity for Aronofsky to work on original ideas like The Fountain and The Wrestler.
Had Warner Bros. moved forward on Aronofsky’s Batman pitch, it would have meant that audiences may not have seen Nolan’s critically acclaimed version of the caped crusader. A gritty R-rated Batman movie in the 2000s, shortly after the release of Spider-Man changed what audiences expected from superhero movies, could have either sunk the Batman film series or sent the franchise and the rest of the DC films on a different path. Batman as a franchise is thriving, with the release of The Batman launching a new era for the character that not only includes sequels but prestige television spin-offs.
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