Darren Aronofsky says he wanted Joaquin Phoenix to play Batman

And now, of course, things are very different

Joaquin Phoenix was once in the running to play Batman, it has been revealed.

The actor is, of course, about to play the character’s arch enemy The Joker in the upcoming film of the same name, but things could have been very different.

The revelation comes from director Darren Aronofsky, who wanted the star to play Bruce Wayne back in 1999 after he was approached by Warner Bros to adapt Batman: Year One.


Joker film Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker

“I always wanted Joaquin Phoenix for Batman,” Aronofksy revealed to Yahoo!. “I hear the way they’re talking about the Joker movie and that’s exactly – that was my pitch.”

He continued: “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. It was the duct-tape, MacGyver Batman.”

“It’s funny, I think we were just sort of out of time with our idea,” he continued. “I understood that [with] comics, there’s room for all different types of titles, but I think Hollywood at that time was still in the golden age of comics, and they were still just doing the classic titles in classic ways.”

Joker comes out this Thursday (October 4), and was given a five-star review by NME.


In the review, Greg Wetherall says: “‘Joker’ is an instant classic that sees Joaquin Phoenix translate a discombobulating sensation from the screen to your senses, while director Todd Phillips creates a melancholic psychodrama punctuated by splashes of shocking violence.”