After years of being a celebrated indie, relatively non-mainstream filmmaker, director Darren Aronofsky has the number one movie in the country with his biblical epic “Noah” (and it should be noted it’s a pretty dark, non-mainstreamy tentpole). And while he’s flirted with many super hero movies over the years, perhaps the Russell Crowe-starring movie will finally get him there. “In reality, our original super heroes were characters the Bible so these were the original super hero stories. People have forgotten how amazing these stories were,” Aronofsky said in a recent EPK interview.
But for the traditionalists out there, Aronofsky could go down as one of the biggest “what-ifs” in super hero comic book history. The “Black Swan” filmmaker tried, failed and eventually gave up on adapting Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” (you can read more about on our feature: 20 Superhero Movies That Couldn't Fly All The Way To The Big Screen Big). He was all set to direct Hugh Jackman in “The Wolverine,” but then had to bail on the movie, and was also one of the finalists to direct “Man Of Steel” with the job eventually going to Zack Snyder.
Why didn’t he direct “The Wolverine”? Well, pretty simple: he was going through a divorce and didn’t want to be away from his children. "I loved the script and I thought the film came out great. I just had... it was a hard time in my life," Aronofsky told MTV News recently. "It was complicated. I couldn't leave New York for that long an amount of time. And, to be honest, the possibility of 'Noah' had started to emerge, and here was something I'd been thinking about for years. I was really excited by that."
Why no “Man of Steel”? Well, it’s unclear if he passed or Christopher Nolan and the producers simply went with the already big-budget-experienced Zack Snyder, but Aronofsky said under the right circumstances he would have “absolutely” taken the job (which does suggest the former, as he also adds that he had "a few conversations" with Nolan).
"Superman's one of the holy grails. It's Superman. It's the best superhero," he told MTV. "Batman is great, of course, but it's Superman. He's the same level. That possibility was great. I thought Zack was a great choice, and I loved his 'Watchmen' movie. I thought it was great. I thought that as a fan of the comic, you couldn't hope for a better interpretation. I liked the orthodoxy of it."
"It was interesting to add the pathos that they put into the character," the "Noah" director added about Warner’s Superman movie. "It's a hard one to do. You look at what Christopher Reeve did, and it was perfect, because it captured that 'good old boy' thing. But to try and redo that again and bring that for a modern audience is tough in a post-'Batman' and 'Wolverine' world. It's hard to do that."
Thoughts? Would you have preferred Aronofsky’s versions of the aforementioned 2013 super hero movies to the ones that hit the screen last summer? Personally, I would, but as recently explained in our The 20 Greatest Movies Never Made feature, the tantalizing what-ifs are usually going to be more powerful existing only in our yearning imagination.