×

WB sends ‘Pi’ guy into the Bat Cave

Aronofsky to helm edgy fifth installment of 'Batman'

Helmer Darren Aronofsky will take wing as the director of the fifth installment of Warner Bros. Pictures’ lucrative “Batman” franchise, “Batman: Year One.”

Aronofsky, the visually innovative director of “Pi” and the upcoming “Requiem For A Dream,” has signed on to write and develop the screenplay with Frank Miller, the author of the Warner Books graphic novel “Batman: YO” on which the film will be based.

Eric Watson, who produced both Aronofsky’s “Pi” as well as “Requiem,” is expected to join Warners’ team on the project.

Miller originally penned “Batman: YO” in 1987 as a film noir-infused, four-issue story published by DC Comics that detailed Bruce Wayne’s first year as the Batman, including the self-doubts and blunders he had to overcome in order to emerge as a full-blown crimefighter.

Parallel stories

Paralleling Batman’s development is the story of the future Commissioner Gordon. In “Batman YO,” however, he is merely Lieutenant James Gordon, who is busy battling the internal corruption of the Gotham City police force. The story initially posits the two as natural enemies — the vigilante and the law enforcement officer — but the two learn to respect and trust each other.

Aronofsky’s decision to take on the “Batman” mantle represents a major departure for the young director, who made his debut at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival with the B&W “Pi,” a study of a mathematical genius’s struggle between brilliance and madness. Similarly, the film balanced its weighty concerns regarding theories of the universe with an edgy visual style and a techno soundtrack.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Warner Bros.’ president of theatrical production, is also said to be a major fan of Aronofsky’s upcoming “Requiem,” a harrowing (and unrated) look at the world of addiction based on stories by Hubert Selby Jr. Artisan Entertainment will release the film Oct. 6.

Warners’ long-running Batman franchise has been a profitable one. However, by the fourth installment, 1997’s “Batman & Robin,” it was widely viewed as creatively bankrupt and needing a good kick in the pants if it were to move any further.

Hard-edged credentials

Aronofsky’s hard-edged indie creds may have helped him win out over other contenders such as Bryan Singer, but Warners’ choice of source material may also serve the filmmakers well: Tim Burton, the director of Warner’s original 1989 “Batman,” was said to be inspired by both “Batman: YO” as well as Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.”

Concurrently, Warners is developing “Batman Beyond,” a live-action adaptation of the WB Kids Network animated series “Batman Beyond,” with director Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans”) and writers-series creators Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, with consultation from cyberpunk sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson (“Cryptonomicon”).

“Batman Beyond” is set 40 years in the future, when Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman and his role is filled by Tim McGinnis, a Gotham high schooler who battles evil corporate forces that killed his father and now control what was once Wayne’s empire.

Aronofsky is repped by ICM.

More Film

  • Christian Bale'Vice' film premiere, Arrivals, Los

    Christian Bale Recalls Meeting Donald Trump: 'He Thought I Was Bruce Wayne'

    With Christian Bale’s latest film, “Vice,” a political dramedy, it’s inevitable ties will be drawn between the film and the current political administration and its chief, President Donald Trump. On the red carpet for the premiere of “Vice,” Bale, who stars as former Vice President Dick Cheney, shared that he met the current president while [...]

  • ‘Bumblebee’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Bumblebee’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Bumblebee.” Ads placed for the sci-fi/action film had an estimated media value of $6.31 million through Sunday for 941 national [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds Stunt

    Film News Roundup: Ryan Reynolds' Michael Bay Film '6 Underground' Wraps Production

    In today’s film news roundup, shooting has wrapped on Ryan Reynolds’ “6 Underground,” BAFTA LA names new board members, and the WGA East honors longtime exec Randall Jasta.  PRODUCTION Michael Bay’s Ryan Reynolds-starrer “6 Underground” has wrapped production. Netflix and Skydance Media completed principal photography in Abu Dhabi on the action-adventure, which reportedly carries a $125 [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen on Broadway

    Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway'

    Hope you like the 69-year-old version of Bruce Springsteen’s face, because it’s virtually all you’re going to see for the two hours and 40 minutes of the filmed “Springsteen on Broadway” — other than the bare brick wall of the theater casting a dim glow in the background beyond those gray sideburns, and two songs’ [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'A Star Is Born,' 'Vice' Lead 2018 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Nominees

    The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced their nominees for the 8th annual AACTA International Awards on Tuesday. “A Star Is Born” and “Vice” lead the pack, with five and four nominations respectively. The two leading films compete with “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Roma” for best film, while Nicole Kidman becomes the [...]

  • China's Government Orders Talent Home to

    After Golden Horse Awards Embarrassment, China Orders Talent Home for Huabiao Ceremony

    China’s government quietly ordered top Chinese talent back to the mainland from abroad this past weekend to attend a Beijing ceremony for its highest film industry honors, the loosely bi-annual Huabiao Awards. The move came just weeks after it directed mainland film executives and talent to snub after-parties and return home as quickly as possible [...]

  • Fotosintesis Readies Mexico-U.S. Immigration Animated Feature

    Fotosintesis Readies Immigration Animated Feature ‘Beast’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Mexico City-based Fotosintesis Media, a joint initiative of Mexico’s Mantarraya Group and writer-director Miguel Angel Uriegas, is moving into pre-production this January on “Beast,” the third Mexican animated feature from the cause-driven entertainment label. News of the move comes as Uriegas presents at Ventana Sur’s Animation! forum 15 minutes of work in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content