Details of stalled and canceled DC projects leaking out has become a common theme at Warner Bros. in the wake of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign by fans. Beyond Justice League, more of what Ben Affleck’s Batman would have been like is coming to light.
We already learned Deathstroke was the odds-on villain, but there was a small question of the setting. What place could possibly contain a grudge match between DC’s deadliest assassin and the Caped Crusader? There is an answer.
Famed cinematographer Robert Richardson, a frequent collaborator with Affleck, Oliver Stone, and Quentin Tarantino, discussed plans for Affleck’s take on The Batman — which Richardson was attached to shoot. Talking with Josh Horowitz on Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast post-San Diego Comic-Con, Richardson divulged Arkham Asylum was the designated venue.
“So he was entering more into the Arkham, he’s going into where everyone was bad, everyone that shifted and Batman.”
The intent was to plumb the dark side of the hero’s psyche, more than any filmmaker had previously, a prospect that Robertson admitted fascinated him:
“Well, he was going more into the insanity aspects. 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’s inside Batman. What element may be sane and what element may actually not be sane.”
Richardson also delved into some of the script problems that ultimately led to Affleck quitting. He intimated the script was never quite perfect enough:
“There was a script, but not a loved script. There was a lot of work he was doing to it to change it.”
In terms of Batfleck, we never got a deep dive into the underbelly of Arkham, but the Asylum was featured in Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Batman Begins, and several DC Animated features.
In the Animated Series, the Dark Knight paid many visits there — to the chagrin of his rogues taking up space in its padded cells. Thanks to Scarecrow, he suffered through his own extended stay at Arkham in one memorable episode.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker will get to know the inside of a similarly christened facility — Arkham Hospital — this October if the rumors and spoilers are indeed true.
Ben Affleck’s slow exodus from The Batman started with the dismantling of Zack Snyder’s version of the DC Extended Universe. First, he passed the torch of directorial duties to Matt Reeves then left the project over creative and personal issues.
Reeves, wanting a younger Batman as Christopher Nolan did, replaced Affleck with Robert Pattinson. The story will see Pattinson under the cowl just beginning as a detective and crimefighter.
And Reeves swears his take will be more of a detective story than previous entries, taking inspiration from The Long Halloween like Nolan. In the vane of the classic story, Reeves allegedly intends to have six or more villains in his script, including The Penguin.
The Batman comes out on June 25, 2021.