Director Darren Aronofsky‘s mother! is out now in cinemas and he’s been doing the media rounds, and has been asked his thoughts about Warner Bros. upcoming Joker origin story.
Why has Aronofsky been asked about this? Because the plan for the film is to be a gritty spinoff with the Joker as a mob boss in a Scorsese-esque Gotham underworld, which is not too dissimilar from Aronofsky’s original ideas for his own Batman films before Christopher Nolan took over in the early 2000s.
The director previously stated he’d have cast Clint Eastwood in the role of the dark knight in an adaptation of Frank Miller‘s Batman: Year One, and would shoot in Tokyo doubling for Gotham City with a tone closer to Death Wish or The French Connection.
With the success of R-Rated superhero films like Deadpool and Logan, the Joker spinoff looks set to be darker and more creatively risky than any superhero film that has come before. Aronofsky told First Showing that he thinks his ideas were ahead of the times:
“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.
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”.
While Aronofsky doesn’t sound particularly displeased that he wasn’t able to make a Batman film and went on to praise Nolan’s work on The Dark Knight trilogy, there’s probably a tinge of disappointment that the comic book revolution wasn’t further along back then and Hollywood wasn’t as open to challenging comic book movies.
Then again, with plenty of interconnected universes and franchises nowadays, who’s to say Aronofsky won’t still get the chance to make his gritty, standalone Batman? After all, if Hollywood begins accepting the idea of different universes and not everything being canon much like in the comic book world, we could be in line for many different versions of Batman, and Aronofsky may yet get his chance.
We’ll next see the caped crusader in Justice League in November, before Matt Reeves‘ The Batman goes into production, which, excitedly, has itself apparently been heavily influenced by David Fincher‘s The Game.