Ben Affleck’s The Batman Script Was a Dark, Insane Trip Into Arkham Asylum

There are a great many superhero movies that never got made. Some of these will always live on in infamy. James Cameron’s Spider-Man movie. Wesley Snipes’ Black Panther. Ben Affleck’s would-have-been version of The Batman is quickly becoming one of those projects, as director Matt Reeves gears up to make his version of the movie, which will star Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader. Now, courtesy of cinematographer Robert Richardson, we have some firm details on what Affleck’s version of the movie would have been, and it would have taken us deep into the heart of Arkham Asylum.

Robert Richardson is currently making the rounds for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He’s an Oscar-winner and, back when Ben Affleck was going to write, star in and direct The Batman, Richardson was going to shoot the movie. During a recent interview, he was asked about the scrapped version of Batfleck’s solo adventure within the DCEU. Here’s what Richardson had to say about it.

“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 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.”

We had heard rumors about a similar plot that would have included quite a few villains previously, but they were never substantiated. Arkham Asylum has been featured on screen before, but never wholly explored or used to its possible full potential in a live-action DC movie before. So the fact that this version of The Batman would have gone there is something that might make certain fans mourn the loss of what could have been. During the interview, the fact that Arkham has never been fully explored on screen was brought up and Robert Richardson revealed doubled down.

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“No, and that’s where we were going. I was very interested in that one.”

Not much has come to light about what this movie would have been. We know the script had gone through various versions. The biggest thing is that Ben Affleck had confirmed Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike) was going to play the villain Deathstroke, via some now-legendary test footage. Sadly, that’s no longer the case under director Matt Reeves, who is taking a noir approach that will focus on the hero’s skills as a detective.

Ben Affleck exited the director’s chair back in January 2017. He played coy about his future in the DC universe until after the release of Justice League. Then he finally confirmed he would no longer be playing Batman, paving the way for Robert Pattinson and a new era for the character to begin. For more with Robert Richardson, check out the latest episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast.

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