Exclusive: Zack Snyder's Thoughts on Adapting Dark Knight Returns
by Alex Billington
February 25, 2009
So the story goes that at the San Diego Comic-Con last year, during the Watchmen panel, Zack Snyder said that he "would love to see Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns made into a movie." Following all the hype surrounding that statement, Frank Miller was asked if he would give Zack his blessing to adapt that graphic novel, which he would. So of course, the next logical step would be to go back to Zack and ask him how he might adapt the story, even though there's a distinct possibility that Warner Brothers will never ever allow this, especially with Christopher Nolan's version of Batman earning them billions of dollars.
In my interview with Zack Snyder on Watchmen, the final question I asked him was about, hypothetically, if he were to adapt The Dark Knight Returns, how would he do it. Some of you may have already heard his answer if you've watched that interview in its entirety, but let's take a closer look at his response again.
"I think the thing that's awesome about Dark Knight, like Watchmen, is that it is a complete and total experience, that was unlike anything anyone has ever seen, and still is," Snyder said. "I think the big challenge for me would be -- it's so 'montage-y' and so media thick, that you just have to -- that's the techniques you'd have to develop and make work. But as far as the rest goes, the thing I'd be really interested in is that kind of Frank [Miller] narration over that cool action, that's a thing we haven't really seen in that context."
I believe Zack is referring to the TV broadcast interviews that are found throughout the story, as well as the narration that Frank put for it. Those aspects are not only what makes it such a unique graphic novel, but are the exact reasons why it would be a challenge to adapt, as Snyder said. For those unfamiliar with the graphic novel, it's set 20 years in the future, after Bruce Wayne has retired, and deals with his return as Batman after Harvey Dent turns to crime again. This really would be a fascinating story to see on the big screen, especially after Christopher Nolan wraps up his Batman trilogy sometime in the next few years.
As I said at the beginning, it's very unlikely that we'll ever see this happen, but of course, I asked Zack about it anyway simply to entertain the idea. I'm not as big of a fan of Dark Knight Returns as I'm sure plenty of others are, but it is at least interesting to continue to hear Zack's take on the whole graphic novel and what he might do with it if ever given the opportunity to one day adapt it. Would it ever work as a movie?