No matter which franchise or comic book you're looking at, you wouldn't exactly define Batman as a light, happy go lucky character. But the author of the comic 'Batman: Year One,' Frank Miller, found out that he didn't take the dark personality of Batman that far when Darren Aronofsky presented him with his potential movie adaptation.
In a recent interview, Miller went back to Aronofsky's interpretation of Batman, which unfortunately never made it past the first pitch, and revealed how much tougher the director was planning on making him.
'My Batman Was Too Nice For Him'
In 1999, it was Warner Bros. who turned to Aronofsky to get him to breathe new life into Batman, after Joel Schumacher's disastrous Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Aronofsky, who would later go on to direct chilling masterpieces such as Requiem For A Dream and Black Swan, decided to base his adaptation on the 'Batman: Year One' comic.
Miller then joined him to work on the screenplay, but he discovered a version of Batman that was much darker than he'd ever imagined:
"It was the first time I worked on a Batman project with somebody whose vision of Batman was darker than mine. My Batman was too nice for him."
A Raw, 'Real' Batman
Aronofsky had jokingly told Warner that he would "cast Clint Eastwood as the Dark Knight and shoot it in Tokyo," but his project was something else entirely:
"I pitched the complete opposite, which was totally bring-it-back-to-the-streets raw, trying to set it in a kind of real reality—no stages, no sets, shooting it all in inner cities across America, creating a very real feeling. My pitch was 'Death Wish' or 'The French Connection' meets Batman."
Miller later explained that pitch a bit further:
"It didn't have the toys in it. The Batmobile was just a tricked-out car. And Batman turned his back on his fortune to live a street life so he could know what people were going through. He built his own Batcave in an abandoned part of the subway. And he created Batman out of whole cloth to fight crime and a corrupt police force."
This was meant to be a Batman way more human than heroic, so human even that he would be more flawed and twisted than any of the comic book save-the-world guys out there. Even Miller's input, such as the fact that Batman wouldn't torture anybody, didn't take the brutality away from the script.
The Movie Never Got Made
Unsurprisingly, this approach, far away from the glitzy world of superhero gadgets and tricks, never made it to the big screen. That wasn't a big disappointment for Aronofsky, however, who was already aware at the time that "Warner always knew it would never be something they could make."
The main reason is that the name "Batman" draws all these kids, who want to see the cool guy in the wicked car and buy stuff with the bat logo on it. Still, the Batman franchise wasn't completely aimed at a younger audience either, as the influence and characters of 'Batman: Year One' are present in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, where Catwoman is introduced.
Could We Get An R-Rated Batman One Day?
When you hear Aronofsky saying that he "was pitching to make an R-rated adult fan-based Batman," there might be hope that the new coolness factor of the R-rating, brought on by Deadpool, could open the door to these grittier versions.
Would you want to see Aronosky's take on Batman?