Darren Aronofsky says he'd be interested in making a Superman movie - but the mother! director clarifies it wouldn't be as part of the currently growing DCEU. Although he's best known for his dark and disturbing films, Aronofsky has a strong mainstream presence thanks to Oscar hits Black Swan and The Wrestler and consistent relationship with the studios; even the highly-divisive, arthouse-feeling mother! was a Paramount production.
Pre-dating all of that, in the early-2000s the director was attached to a Batman film that would adapt landmark origin story Year One, and a decade later had a similar run-in with The Wolverine - all of which goes to show Aronofsky isn't just about Biblical allegory. Even now, he's apparently still interested in tackling a superhero film - albeit for a different DC icon.
Related: mother! Ending Explained
Speaking with CinePOP for the release of mother! Aronofsky said he was interested in directing a Superman movie, although admitted it would be unlikely to happen given the current direction of the character:
"A lot of the great superhero titles are done. People have used them up. So now it's characters that aren't as interesting. But you never know. I mean, Superman would always be interesting. But they’re already deep into reinventing him, so that’s not going to happen for a long time."
The filmmaker's obviously speaking hypothetically and so it's highly unlikely he'd ever pursue a project, but it sounds like Aronofsky would want to do a top-down reimagining of the hero, not something that fits into any broader shared universe. Why it would interest him is pretty obvious given the latent Christ parallels and general mythic nature to the modern perception of the Last Son of Krypton, which may also be why he'll never get to do it.
The present version of Kal-El the director refers to is, of course, the Henry Cavill Supes who debuted in Man of Steel, died in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will make his triumphant return in Justice League this November. As Aronofsky alluded to, this Superman is already a major modern reinvention, so another take would be hard to spin. Besides, the future of this version is pretty locked up, with Matthew Vaughn in talks to direct some form of sequel.
In the same interview, Aronofsky discussed another concern with the entire genre, one that played a part in his previous failed attempts - expectation:
"I think with those films you have to be careful because they are about communicating with as big an audience as you possibly can. Audiences who go to see those films expect a certain type of movie."
Aronofsky makes Aronofsky films, and even with the allegedly director-led DCEU, there's an expectation for these big-budget productions to toe a specific line. Given mother! famously hasn't connected with audiences (earning an F CinemaScore), he doesn't quite fit that mold.
All that said, the current direction of the wider DC Movie enterprise could offer a solution to the barriers we've raised. It's been made clear that WB want a separate DC film label alongside the Extended Universe that takes unique looks at specific characters, with the disconnected Joker prequel currently in active early development (allegedly using a variation on the Year One pitch). An Aronofsky Superman would likely fit into that.
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