For a taste of what might have been in the DC Extended Universe had things not gone, uh, not good, check out the latest episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, where host Josh Horowitz interviews cinematographer Robert Richardson, who recently shot Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in the West. Among the projects they also discuss is one that almost happened but fell apart: Ben Affleck’s The Batman, which he would have starred in and directed.

Richardson, who shot Affleck’s Live By Night, was going to be the director of photography on the film, and confirmed to Horowitz that there was a script for it — and even gave a few details about what the movie would have been like, and where it would have been set. Namely, Arkham Asylum...

There was a script, but not a loved script. There was a lot of work that he was doing to it. He was trying to change it ... He was going more into the insanity aspects. So I think you would have seen something a little darker than what we’ve seen in the past, and more into the “Who’s inside Batman? What element may be sane and what element may not be sane?” He was entering into a little more of the Arkham — like going into where you keep everyone who’s bad, everyone that’s shifted. So that whole aspect was very fascinating; to go to the darker side of Batman.

Richardson said he was “very interested” in shooting that movie, but as he tells it, Affleck’s decision to make Gone Girl with David Fincher was what really doomed the project. Now the next Batman movie (still tentatively titled The Batman, although who knows) is coming from director Matt Reeves, who has cast Twilight’s Robert Pattinson as the new Dark Knight. There’s no reason their film couldn’t be set at Arkham Asylum as well, although based on what Reeves has said about the film so far, it sounds more like a story about Batman the detective, and not Batman the possibly insane man who fights other definitely insane men.

While I didn’t like the movies he appeared in, I thought Affleck could have made a great Batman. I would have been totally up for his version of an Arkham Asylum story, especially if it was shot by someone like Robert Richardson. Alas, we will never see it.

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