Damon Lindelof – American screenwriter, comic book writer and producer (thanks Wiki) – is clearly a fan of graphic novels. Hot off an acclaimed adaptation of the legendary Alan Moore comic book Watchmen (even if ‘adaptation’ might not be the most accurate word), he’s now floated his visions on bringing another of the comicverse’s sacred texts to the screen, which is either a godsend or a mortal blow depending on your thoughts on his treatment of Moore’s subject matter.
The comic in question is Frank Miller’s equally legendary superhero pulp fiction The Dark Knight Returns. Though Lindelof is passionate about the idea of any potential Dark Knight project, he initially expressed a reluctance to tackle Miller’s book without exercising creative license of his own – just as he did with Watchmen:
“The reason that I don’t have any interest in it is because that would be a straight-up adaptation. Where you’re taking something Frank Miller already wrote and illustrated and is perfect. Basically, you’re bringing it to life. Obviously, Superman is going to be in it if you’re doing Dark Knight straight up. All you’re basically doing is adapting something.”
“What made Dark Knight so amazing and revolutionary was that it was so original and groundbreaking. So, it’s like taking the dance instructions where the painted feet are there on the ground. You just have to hit the right steps. I would just be terrified of messing it up. More importantly, I want to freestyle. I’m not the guy for that.”
Doesn’t sound wholly optimistic about his prospects of taking on The Dark Knight Returns does it? Perhaps not in the near future, but that neatly feeds into a key part of his Frank Miller dream, as he explained:
“I think it would be really interesting to wait for somebody like, you know, Michael Keaton, who has already done Batman, or a Christian Bale 25 years from now and then do Dark Knight with them. So, it’s someone who we actually saw play a younger version of Batman. That would be rad.”
Christian Bale suiting up again as a 70-year-old Batman. That’ll be the day.
Without wishing to put myself in the invidious position of reigniting Hollywood agism debates, Michael Keaton will be 93 if Lindelof’s plan to revisit a Batman-of-movies-past in 25 years comes to fruition. That might make him too old for the part, but it’s certainly a neat idea. After all, dealing with aging in the context of a superhero movie was an uncharted frontier until Logan went for it in such starkly uncompromising terms. If Lindelof’s version of The Dark Knight Returns were anything like that film, it’d definitely count me among its supporters. Damn hard act to follow, though.