His performance was one of the cinematographic events of the year 2019. In Joker, Joaquin Phoenix managed to win the hearts of audiences and critics. And for good reason, on February 9, the actor was on the stage of the 92nd Academy Awards to receive the first statuette of his – already long – career. However, before lending his features to the big bad guy from Gotham City, the American star could have played Batman in a project led by Darren Aronofsky.
To understand everything, you have to go back to 2002, where, following the immense success of his drama Requiem for a dream, released a year earlier in France, the director wanted to adapt Batman: Year One, a comic book written by Frank Miller, looking back on Bruce Wayne’s first year under the vigilante mask. Only problem: the Warner firm had other ideas – very different – in mind. In a meeting produced by the famous magazine Empire, the filmmaker says more on the subject.
The studio wanted Freddie Prinze Jr. and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix.
“I remember thinking that we were considering two completely different films. It is a true story. It was a different time. The Batman I wrote had a totally different perspective on what they ended up doing, ” explains the director. In 2001, Freddie Prinze Jr., very popular actor during the 90s thanks to films Remember … last summer and She’s so great, came out of the success of Scooby-doo, another Warner feature film. A choice, a thousand places from Joaquin Phoenix therefore, which was not to the taste of Darren Aronofsky.
In the end, the film was not made. It was not until 2005 that the dark knight returned to the screens in front of Christopher Nolan’s camera. In 2017, during the promotion of Mother!, Darren Aronosky had previously expressed his frustration with the aborted project and the leaking of his plans in an interview with First Showing : “You write ideas and they are taken up elsewhere. The challenge for us was to reinvent the franchise, to make it something very visceral, like Taxi Driver (…). But the derivative people said to us: Oh no, it can’t be a Lincoln Continental, you have to create a real Batmobile. ‘“
Discover one of our Fanzone episodes dedicated to Batman: