Batman is returning to the big screen in 2021 with director Matt Reeves and actor Robert Pattinson taking on the iconic superhero role, but that wasn’t always Warner Bros.’ plan for the film franchise. Following the release of Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” Ben Affleck was set to reprise the Bruce Wayne/Batman role in a standalone film he was tapped to write and direct. Affleck officially parted ways with the project and the character in January, which was followed by confirmation that Reeves was coming on board to retool the next Batman film.
In a new interview on MTV’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, cinematographer Robert Richardson reconfirmed Affleck’s Batman script was finished and not exactly beloved by everyone involved in the film’s development. Richardson was hired by Affleck to film his Batman standalone film after the two worked together on the actor-director’s gangster drama “Live by Night.”
“There was a script, but not a loved script,” Richardson said. “There was a lot to do… he was trying to change it and then he made the decision to do as you know, ‘Gone Girl.'”
As for what Affleck’s script entailed, Richardson revealed the Batman franchise was going to Arkham Asylum to dig into Bruce Wayne’s own insanity. The cinematographer said Affleck’s film would have showed “the darker side of Batman,” which is quite the statement given how brooding Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the superhero was in his “Dark Knight” trilogy.
“Well, [Affleck] was going more into the insanity aspects,” Richardson said. “So I think you would’ve seen something a little darker than what we’ve seen in the past and more into the individual, who was inside Batman — what element may be sane and what element may actually not be sane. So he was entering into a little more of the Arkham, as you know, he’s going into where you keep everyone who was bad, everyone that shifted and Batman. And so that whole aspect was sort of, it was very fascinating to go to the darker side of Batman.”
Reeves has yet to reveal any plot details about his film, officially titled “The Batman,” so it’s unclear if anything related to Affleck’s script is being used. Cinematographer Greig Fraser has been hired to shoot “The Batman” after he completes work on Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune.” Warner Bros. has set a June 25, 2021 release date for the film.