In the early 2000s, Warner Bros was working on a dark and gritty Batman V Superman movie, one that begins at Alfred’s funeral. The film was meant to be helmed by Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot) and star Colin Ferrell as Bruce Wayne and Jude Law as Superman. The initial draft of the screenplay was penned by Andrew Kevin Walker, the guy who penned David Fincher’s classic, Se7en. However, he later exited the project and Akiva Goldsman who penned Batman & Robin and Batman Forever BUT also A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man stepped in to take over writing duties. Unfortunately, the movie did not go to floors, for one reason or another.
In a recent interview with Collider, Goldsman talked about the project that could’ve been. He said:
“I wrote on […] this version of Batman v Superman [around 2001or 2002]— when Colin Farrell was cast as Batman and Jude Law was cast as Superman and Wolfgang Petersen was directing —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.”
Goldsman also said that his version of Batman V Superman was similar to The World’s Finest Golden Age comics run.
“It was really The World’s Finest, in a kind of dark and interesting way. I think it could have been lovely. On the other hand, none of me is sad that Nic Cage’s Superman didn’t get made. So, I guess in that whole period of time, there were wins to be had and losses to be avoided (laughs).”