Joaquin Phoenix's venture into the cinematic world of Gotham City could have looked a lot differently if Darren Aronofsky had gotten his way. The famous director revealed in an interview on Friday that he had had plans to develop a big-screen Batman adaptation years ago with Joaquin starring as the iconic superhero, but the studio, Warner Bros., had some issues with his casting choice.

Joaquin Phoenix batman joker play role Darren Aronofsky movie film superhero villainJamie McCarthy/Getty Images

“The studio wanted Freddie Prinze Jr. and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix,” Darren said. “I remember thinking, ‘Uh oh, we’re making two different films here.’ That’s a true story. It was a different time. The Batman I wrote was definitely a way different type of take than they ended up making.” Ultimately, the film never got made, and Joaquin would instead go on to play the Batman super villain, Joker, many years later. Not only that, but he would end up receiving tons of praise for his performance, even winning a handful of awards including an Oscar for Best Actor at this year's ceremony. 

Joaquin Phoenix batman joker play role Darren Aronofsky movie film superhero villainRachel Luna/Getty Images

Darren's initial approach came about as a result of trying to completely counter the campy and comedic nature of 1997's Batman & Robin, the most recent instalment in the franchise at the time. “The Batman that was out before me was Batman & Robin, the famous one with the nipples on the Batsuit, so I was really trying to undermine that and reinvent it,” he recalled. “That’s where my head went.” However, Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins would go on to be the next Batman film, with Christian Bale in the lead role.

Do you think Joaquin Phoenix would have made a good Batman?

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