Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” is now out in cinemas and is dividing audiences with its take no prisoners approach to tearing down the deification of auteurs and the industry that supports it.
The filmmaker is nothing if not ambitious and unafraid, which is why people remain curious about his take on Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel “Batman: Year One” that was in the works at one point before Christopher Nolan took over the franchise.
Aronofsky previously said he’d cast Clint Eastwood as the Dark Knight and would shoot in Tokyo doubling for Gotham City, with a tone more akin to “Death Wish” or “The French Connection” – ie. dirt, blood and no gadgets.
With R-rated superhero films now proving successful both critically and commercially with the likes of “Logan” and “Deadpool,” Warners has announced plans for a standalone Joker origin story spinoff – one in which he’s a gritty crime boss in a Scorsese-esque Gotham underworld.
Aronofsky, out doing “mother!” promotions, says that this Joker concept film sounds pretty close to what he had intended for Batman. He tells First Showing:
“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….two bus engines, all duct taped together. It was the duct tape MacGyver Batman. And 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.’
And I think with Chris [Nolan’s] work, which was great, it was just – he hit it [out of the park]. He was able to get the darkness in, and the psychology of the character, yet he was still able to give the gizmo thing, which I wasn’t ever really interested in.
So, I think that’s the back story. I think we were ahead of our time. And I was always like; why can’t we make a more lower-budget rated-R [movie], just like in comics you have different brands but and now they’re finally doing that. They’re doing the spinoffs, which is great.
This is an exciting time because they’ll be able to take more risks and we won’t be seeing the same superhero movie over and over again. You’ll get things like Deadpool, which was a relief as compared to seeing the same film over and over again.”
The next Batman big screen outing will be with Ben Affleck in the character in “Justice League” on November 17th. After that will be Matt Reeves’ take on the character in the standalone “The Batman”.
Reeves is taking over the script writing duties on that film from Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns whose earlier drafts have been ditched. It was recently revealed that David Fincher’s iconic thriller “The Game” served as a big influence on the Johns/Affleck script.
Reeves has said his version will be a “noir driven, detective version of Batman”.