Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky recently revealed Warner Bros' Joker origin film sounds very similar to his early pitch of a Batman movie. Last month, news broke that Warner Bros. is developing a Joker standalone movie that would be separate from the already existing DC Extended Universe. The report quickly garnered interest from fans not just because it would be the supervillain's first standalone film, but because acclaimed filmmakers are attached to the project. The Hangover and War Dogs director Todd Phillips will helm, while Martin Scorsese may potentially produce the film. It's not clear how the studio will promote the movie separate from their existing banner, or how it will affect the DCEU moving forward, but latest intel on the Joker project suggests it will be very dark and gritty.
Aronofsky is currently at the center of attention with his latest project mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem getting critical praise ahead of its wide release this Friday. But while all eyes are on his current gig, it did not miss the director's attention that some of his earlier concepts for a Caped Crusader standalone could possibly be used, ironically, for his arch nemesis' proposed film.
While doing press for mother!, Aronofsky was asked by First Showing about his known previous attachment to a shelved Batman project dubbed Batman: Year One, a collaboration he did with Frank Miller. The version of Batman's story is a little different from the comic book origins - Bruce Wayne is a homeless, orphaned boy, adopted by Big Al who grows up to fight crime wearing a ski mask, cape and brass knuckles:
"You know what, I think it's finally… I think we were basically – whatever it is – 15 years too early. Because I hear the way they’re talking about the Joker movie and that's exactly – that was my pitch. I was like: we're going to shoot in East Detroit and East New York. We're not building Gotham. The Batmobile – I wanted to be a Lincoln Continental with two bus engines in it."
Despite his early Batman concept not coming to fruition, Aronofsky added that some bits and pieces from his darker version eventually made it to the big screen via other projects, particularly Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice:
"Some of my ideas got out there through other films. Like the ring with "BW", Bruce Wayne's ring making the scar was our idea and I think that was in Zack's or something. Which is fine, you write these ideas and they get out. We were all about reinventing it and trying to make it more Taxi Driver visceral. That was the whole pitch. But the toy people were like, "Oh it can't be a Lincoln Continental, you have to make a Batmobile."
Aronofsky's comments do not seem to be intended to bash Warner Bros. or Snyder. It simply is an acknowledgment that some of his concepts have been adapted by other filmmakers in other projects. That said, it is interesting to wonder how Batman would be perceived now if his Year One project was greenlighted more than a decade ago. While there have been various iterations of the Bat of Gotham in film and other media, his origin story has remained the same all throughout.
Source: First Showing