2019 kicked off with rather disappointing news for DC fans who had been waiting for Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film to get moving – Affleck threw in the cowl on the project after originally committing to write, direct, and star in it for Warner Bros.
“I tried to direct a version of it, worked with a really good screenwriter, but couldn’t come up with a version,” he admitted. “Couldn’t crack it. So I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it and they got some really good people.”
Cloverfield‘s Matt Reeves, who had boarded The Batman to direct after Affleck decided to take a step back from both helming and penning the project, plans to take the movie in a “noir-driven, detective” direction, but we’ll always be left wondering what might have been had Affleck stuck with it, and carried out his vision for the Caped Crusader.
Now, cinematographer Robert Richardson has shed some light on the Batman movie that never was. He worked with Affleck on 2016 crime drama Live by Night and talked to the HappySadConfused podcast (via The Playlist) about the actor’s abandoned film while promoting Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It seems that after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, Bruce Wayne would have been heading to Arkham Asylum.
“I wanted to shoot Batman with Ben [Affleck] ’cause that was the next film we had,” Richardson said. “There was a script, but not a loved script. There was a lot of work he was doing to it to change it.”
Of the plot, he added, “He was going into the more insanity aspects …He was entering more into the Arkham, he’s going into where everyone was bad.”
Richardson then confirmed that the “Arkham” he was referring to was Arkham Asylum, the notorious psychiatric hospital north of Gotham City that many of Batman’s most iconic villains end up calling home. “That’s where we were going. I was very interested in that one.”
Might they have been looking at any of Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum work perhaps? Or given the video games a play? We’ll likely never know.
Reeves’ The Batman is now scheduled for release on June 25, 2021, and will star Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight.