While sitting down for a lengthy interview with Collider, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman opened up about his short time on the abandoned film, which would’ve featured Jude Law‘s Superman facing off against Colin Farrell‘s Batman, which is an ironic bit of casting given Farrell’s current role as the Penguin in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. According to Goldsman, he was brought in after Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker left the project, but while director Wolfgang Peterson was still attached.
We were in prep and it was the darkest thing you’ve ever seen. It started with Alfred’s funeral and Bruce has fallen in love and renounced being Batman, the Joker kills his wife, and then you discover it was all a lie. Just that the love itself was constructed by the Joker to break [Bruce]. It was a time where you would be able to get these sort of stories together in script form but they couldn’t quite land in the world. Somehow, the expectations of the object — whether they be audience or corporate or directorial — it wasn’t landing quite in the way I think we imagined when we put them on the page.”
In Goldman’s defense, Zack Snyder’s later attempt to pit the Dark Knight against the Man of Steel didn’t have the smoothest jump from page to screen either. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice received mixed reviews for its exceedingly dark take on the iconic heroes, and its box-office disappointment led to a difficult production for Justice League. As we now know from recent interviews, the back-to-back debacle led to Ben Affleck walking away from directing The Batman and ultimately quitting the role altogether.