The Iconic Gotham Location That Ben Affleck’s Batman Movie was Going to Explore

Ben Affleck’s stand-alone Batman film will be one of those “what ifs” we’ll get to wonder about as the DCEU expands in a different direction. Affleck was, of course, Batman in two films—Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman and the Zack Snyder/Joss Whedon (who stepped in during production) crossover film Justice League. For a long while, the idea was that Affleck would write and direct his own Batman film, and he’d gotten fairly far along in the process when he ultimately decided to step away from the project. We now have Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman, starring Robbert Pattinson as the caped crusader. And that, we figured, was that with knowing anything about what Affleck’s vision for his Batman film would be. Until now.

The great cinematographer Robert Richardson—who we just interviewed about his work on Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In…Hollywood—was set to lens Affleck’s Batman movie. Speaking to Josh Horowitz on his Happy Sad Confused podcast, Richardson revealed that Affleck’s film was going to explore one of the most iconic locations in Gotham—Arkham Asylum:

“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…it was very fascinating to go to the darker side of Batman.”

The only meaningful time we’ve ever spent at Arkham in a Batman film was in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. That was where Cillian Murphy’s Dr. Jonathan Crane worked, the man who became one of Batman’s antagonists, the mad, bad Scarecrow. Had Affleck gotten a chance to set his film within the walls of Gotham’s most notorious lunatic asylum, the sky would have been the limit for the kind of lunacy he could have conjured.

There’s no suggestion that Arkham will be featured in Todd Phillips’ upcoming Joker—although the Clown Prince of Chaos certainly belongs there—but it’s a storied location in the comics and hopefully will pop up again in Batman’s long future on the big screen.

As for Reeves and Pattinson’s The Batman—that’s due in theaters on June 25, 2021.

Featured image: Ben Affleck is ‘Batman’ in ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.’ Courtesy Warner Bros.


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