“[Let me] confirm a long-spoken rumour that bat-fans have always asked about: YES! The Wachowski Brothers — Andy and Larry of “Matrix” fame — were indeed offered full control over the “Batman” franchise (and when I say “full control”, believe me, I mean it!) After the success of the first “Matrix” film.
The reason they refused Warner Bros. offer is that they figured that their own ‘comic book franchise’ — i.e. “The Matrix” Trilogy — was “better and more original” than the deal Warners were offering, so they politely declined. In response, Warner Bros. calmly offered the Wachowski Brothers (and Producer Joel Silver) a staggering $600 Million dollars to complete “The Matrix” sequels, and the videogame (Rumoured to be costing them some $45 Million to produce) called “Enter the Matrix”, which is currently being filmed in Sydney, Australia.
Word is that the Wachowski’s truly love the “Batman” concept (They’re both well known comic book fans), but were so appalled by Joel Schumacher’s efforts on “Batman & Robin” that they were afraid of following up such a dismal effort.
Their ideas for the “Batman” franchise were simple and revolutionary at the same time (“Revolutionary” from a Warner Bros. point of view, that is). They simply wanted to do a “Live-Action” version of the comic book, and were greatly influenced by the Neal Adams era of “Batman” comics. i.e. Tough, Diabolical villians (The Wachowski’s are reportedly ‘in love’ with the 1970 comic “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge”); an isolated, maniacal Bruce Wayne/Batman, with the emphasis on the “detective” aspect of the Batman persona (i.e making Batman super-smart as well as Super-tough); and fluid, violent plotting, loaded with action, confrontations, and the so-called ‘classic’ Batman comic book three-act plot. i.e. Batman confronts villian and loses; Batman and villian meet again and it’s an equal match; and Batman and villian finally face-off, at which point Batman prevails.
They were reportedly looking at a trilogy of “Batman” films before the spectre of doing “The Matrix” sequels became a reality.
And by the way…Keanu Reeves was not(!!!) in the running for the ‘Bruce Wayne/Batman’ role; The Wachowski’s were reportedly looking at actors like Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Guy Pearce, amongst others.
So: the question remains: how good would a Wachowski Brothers ‘Batman’ trilogy be??? Pretty darn good by the sounds of it. Ah, well…Maybe Warner Bros. should have made them a better offer…and offered to lynch Joel Schumacher at the same time!”