Darren Aronofsky’s Unproduced Comic Movies | NowThis Nerd

Hey, I’m Mike and I’m always excited for a new Darren Aronofsky film ‘Mother!’ Looks like a properly batshit followup to his films like ‘The Black Swan’ and ‘Requiem For a Dream

’ But as much as I love his work, I’m even more fascinated by what could have been Aronofsky has tackled subjects ranging from drug addition and immortality to ballet and pro wrestling, But he’s never made a comic book movie, and it’s not for lack of trying From Batman to Wolverine, he’s been involved in a ton of comic adaptations that never got off the ground, So let’s go through Darren Aronofsky’s Attempted Adaptations, Starting with Frank Miller’s 'Ronin' Released in 1983, this cyberpunk samurai story is one of the most quietly influential comics in history The mashup of a dreary sci-fi dystopia with feudal Japan was a direct inspiration for Genndy Tartakofski’s ‘Samurai Jack,’ And the original ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ comics took a ton from Ronin, right down to the lettering in their logo

Chill out, bro! I'm green, same as you! Miller came up with the idea while researching Japanese history for his ninja-packed run on ‘Daredevil’ With inspiration from the legendary manga ‘Lone Wolf and Cub,’ Miller fused the dynamic Japanese art style with the sci-fi cityscapes of French artists like Moebius In 1998, New Line signed a young Aronofsky to make the movie adaptation, just 11 days after the release of his breakout hit ‘Pi’ When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun So once when I was six I did

Aronofsky was a big Frank Miller fan, and he based the high-contrast black-and-white look of ‘Pi’ on Miller’s recently released ‘Sin City’ The two worked hard on a screenplay for ‘Ronin,’ but according to Aronofsky they just “never quite nailed it” The project sat in limbo for years And last we heard SyFy was going to make it into a miniseries That was in 2014, though, so who the hell knows at this point? But Aronofsky and Miller enjoyed working together, and their next project would be even more ambitious: A film version of Miller’s back-to-basics take on the Dark Knight’s origin: 'Batman: Year One' ‘Ronin’ might not have left the ground, but Aronofsky’s next film ‘Requiem for a Dream’ solidified his reputation as a daring, inventive filmmaker

Meanwhile, the Batman franchise was basically in the toilet after ‘Batman and Robin’ turned the caped crusader into a laughingstock Chicks dig the car! This is why Superman works alone It was such a bomb that director Joel Schumacher actually felt bad about the whole thing He’s still apologizing to this day And even back then, he felt like he owed the hardcore fans the nipple-less movie they really wanted, So, nipples, huh? Hmm

No sir, I don't think I have any use for rubber nipples so he approached Warner Bros with the idea of rebooting the series using Miller’s gritty ‘Year One’ as the basis

The studio liked the idea, but they weren’t willing to give Schumacher another chance Frankly, I don't wanna shit on Schumacher too much I watched 'The Lost Boys' a ton when I was a kid, And, you know, like that scene where they're about to eat the Chinese food but it's maggots? How are the maggots? You're eating maggots, how do they taste? Still freaks me out to this day They approached Aronofsky instead, and they asked him what he would do to bring some respectability back to the Bat He half-jokingly told them he’d cast Clint Eastwood as Batman and film the whole movie in Tokyo

I know what you're thinking That got their attention, so the studio teamed him back up with Miller to flesh out his comic story into a feature film Their main goal with ‘Year One’ was to make a completely raw, realistic Batman

Inspired by ‘Death Wish’ and ‘The French Connection,’ their script has young Bruce Wayne lose his family fortune after his parents’ murder A car mechanic named “Big Al” takes him in and raises him in his sleazy shop He’s a far cry from the super-posh butler Alfred that Bruce is used to, but that’s just the start of the ‘Year One’ weirdness For one thing, he doesn’t come up with the whole “bat” gimmick himself His first outfit consists of a hockey mask and pads

Christian Bale would not approve I'm not wearing hockey pads But ‘Year One’ Bruce isn’t completely without theatricality and deception He wears a ring on his punchin’ hand with his father Thomas Wayne’s initials carved on it And when TW starts showing up on brutally beaten criminals, the media mistakes it for a bat symbol

Bruce knows a good idea when he sees it, so he whips up a cool costume and builds the batcave in an abandoned subway tunnel Nina Turtles, eat your heart out It’s not quite as dramatic as a giant bat breaking through his window and perching on a bust of his dead father, But I guess it fits the real-world aesthetic Aronofsky was going for, even if he went a little too far in that direction Warner Brothers took one look at the script and realized they weren’t going to sell any toys of an R-rated Batman who hung around with prostitutes Blastwing Batman whips his massive cape to cut down the cold criminal! Now Robin comes with his Redbird cycle to put evil on ice as Batgirl blasts in to send Freeze to the cooler! They passed on the script, but wound up hiring Christopher Nolan to do a pretty dark take on the character himself

We all know how that turned out, so I’m not too upset Aronofsky’s ‘Year One’ never saw the light of day But I am super bummed he never got to direct 'Watchmen' Development on the ‘Watchmen’ movie started in 1986 Fox originally asked Alan Moore to write the screenplay, and when he refused, of course, they hired Sam Hamm, the screenwriter behind Burton’s Batman films The script is… Not good

Instead of the shocking, legendary ending of the source material, he just has Rorshach and the gang transported to the real world where ‘Watchmen’ is just a comic book It makes no f*cking sense It’s not as bad as ‘Watchmen Babies,’ Which of the babies is your favorite? but it’s not far off Terry Gilliam was attached to direct for a while, but he left after budget and running-length concerns The project was dead until 2001, when David Hayter was hired to come up with a new script

As the writer of ‘X-Men’ and the voice of Solid Snake, Hayter was definitely qualified to tackle the seemingly unadaptable graphic novel Graphic novel? Colonel, isn't that just a comic book? His script blew the studio away, and their search for a director led them to Aronofsky in 2004 Aronofsky was super gung-ho about Hayter’s script, but after just one week on the job he got word that production was a go on his passion project ‘The Fountain’ He offered to work on both at the same time, but Universal quickly replaced him with Paul Greengrass Greengrass never got to make ‘Watchmen’ either, but that’s a story for another video

Crazy thing is, ‘Watchmen’ isn’t the only Zack Snyder movie that Aronofsky was involved in Because he almost directed 'Man of Steel' After the nostalgia bait called ‘Superman Returns’ bombed in 2006, DC was looking for a more radical take on the character They wanted someone who would bring an “auteur sensibility to comic book mythology,” like Nolan had done with ‘Batman Begins’ Unfortunately, he had to pass, since he was already committed to another superhero project at Fox: The Wolverine Man, I would have killed to see Aronofsky’s take on the ol’ Canucklehead

He was signed to direct the follow-up to 2009’s craptacular ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ How is this possible? You're not the only one with gifts And since the sequel was going to be based on Logan’s first solo series, Aronofsky was finally going to get the chance to adapt Frank Miller’s work, and with samurai to boot But sadly, he had to leave the project due to family obligations Shooting would require him to live in Japan for at least a year, and he just couldn’t leave the country for that long

James Mangold did a decent job on the movie though And he probably wouldn’t have gotten to direct the utterly amazing followup ‘Logan’ if Aronofsky hadn’t backed out Just like we wouldn’t have gotten ‘The Dark Knight’ if he’d moved forward with his weird-ass ‘Year One’ It’s fun to imagine an alternate universe where stuff like Jodorowsky’s ‘Dune’ and David Lynch’s ‘Return of the Jedi’ actually came to fruition I was asked by George to come up to see him and talk to him

And I had next door to zero interest But sometimes, things work out for the best And I’m sure Aronofsky is gonna get his chance to direct a superhero movie At least if they don’t ask him to do ‘Star Wars’ first

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