Batman has come a long way, baby.
It all started way back in the 1990s with Tim Burton, who made the first two modern Batman films. Families claimed they were too scary for their kids, who were apparently freaked out by missile-toting penguins and criminals getting dunked headlong into acid vats. So Warner Brothers decided to revamp the whole thing. They decide to go in a more colorful, less serious direction, and they asked Burton to do the same. No go he said, with a dour look on his face; No go at all.
So they then hired out Joel Schumacher, who has a serious penchant for cross-dressing and making love to transvestites. Just don’t ask him about it. And so out came Batman and Robin and Batman Forever, the worst two Batman films ever to be carved into celluloid. From Batnipples to Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, the entire franchise was sent to the cooler, all thanks to Warner Brothers hiring a man known for psychological thrillers and drama pieces, not for campy kid shit meant for families instead of the retards it actually attracted.
Moving on to the 2000s, Warner Brothers thought “hey maybe people have forgotten about those horrible last two stinkers. Maybe we can make another Batman movie and no one will even think about Schumacher’s foray into the field”. And so they hired Mr. Dark and Serious, Christopher Nolan, for the job, and boo hoo went Batman. About this time, names were getting tossed around for the lead role. Bale was one name, and another was Josh Hartnett. Now Hartnett had never done superhero work, and as such, he had already passed on Sam Raimi’s Spider-man, and would later go on to pass on Bryan Singer’s redux of Superman in Superman Returns.
In a new interview with the Associated Press, Hartnett clarified that he turned it down not because of an aversion to blockbusters but he wanted to embrace films he preferred making:
“I would welcome the opportunity to be in a relationship with a great artist in our film culture, no matter where they’re making films. In that instance, I think my regret mostly was not forming the friendship or the creative partnership with that director, more than it was [not] doing ‘Batman.’
It wasn’t about not doing studio films. At the time, what I was interested in was…the film that I did instead of that was a tiny film about a guy with Asperger’s Syndrome, falling in love with a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. It was a true story [called] ‘Mozart And The Whale.’ It was more a question of what I wanted to do as opposed to what I didn’t want to do, and I always try to look at things that way.”
My take: Yeah, yeah, yeah, brilliant decision. And people don’t know who you are today because you had to make “those” films and not “these” films, like anyone gives a shit. You also have less money. Good job passing up the American Dream handed to you not once but thrice, all on an engraved silver tray. Idiot.