Darren Aronofsky, an indie favorite since his innovative Pi stormed Sundance two years ago, will direct the next installment of the Batman series in Warner Bros.' Batman: Year One.
Aronofsky, whose film about the world of addiction, Requiem for a Dream, opens October 6, is writing and developing Batman with Frank Miller, the author of the graphic novel on which the film will be based, Daily Variety reports.
Miller originally wrote Batman: Year One in 1987 as a noirish, four-issue story published by DC Comics that detailed Bruce Wayne's origin as the Batman, including his self-doubts and the mistakes he had to overcome in order to emerge as the crime fighter we're all batty over.
Batman: Year One also includes the story of the future Commissioner Gordon, which will mirror that of young Batman. As Lieutenant James Gordon, busy fighting corruption within the Gotham City police force, he and Batman start off as enemies, but they eventually learn to trust one another.
There's no timetable in place yet, but the film won't likely begin production until after the pending writers strike is resolved.
Aronofsky made his debut with Pi at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, earning the award for top director. The stylish, low-budget black and white drama exploring a mathematical genius' struggle between brilliance and madness, balances its heavy issues (i.e., origins of the universe) with edgy visuals and a techno soundtrack. Just the recipe Warners was looking for to jumpstart the Batman franchise, which was on life-support since Joel Schumacher's disastrous Batman and Robin in 1997.
Additionally, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Warners' president of theatrical production, is reportedly a major fan of Aronofsky's upcoming Requiem for a Dream and touted the director as someone who could juice up the multimillion-dollar, but creatively bankrupt, franchise.
As previously reported, Batman: Year One is one of two Caped Crusader flicks concurrently being developed at Warners. The studio is also working on Batman Beyond, a live-action adaptation of the WB Kids Network animated series. Another indie filmmaker, Boaz Yakin (A Price Above Rubies), has already been tapped to cowrite and direct.
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 fights evil corporate forces that killed his father and now control what was once Wayne's empire.