Martin Scorsese may not be a big fan of superhero movies, but the legendary director has revealed he was considering directing Joker before handing the keys over to Todd Phillips. Originally, Scorsese had been attached to the project as a producer, but other obligations led to him withdrawing from the project.
Speaking in a new interview, Martin Scorsese reveals he had spent years mulling over directing a standalone Joker movie himself, but says a lack of time, along with a disinterest in heading too far into superhero territory, kept him from giving it a go.
"It's an interesting question because I've thought about [directing Joker] a lot over the past four years, and I decided I didn't have the time for it... Todd told me, he said 'Marty, this is yours,' and [I said], 'I don't know if I want to.' For personal reasons, I didn't want to get involved, but I know the script very well... For me, ultimately, I don't know if I [would] make the next step, which is this character developing into a comic book character... It develops into an abstraction. That doesn't mean it's bad art. It could be, but it's not for me."
These comments echo the controversial remarks Scorsese had previously made when suggesting Marvel movies aren't cinema. While most of us can concur Scorsese is an extremely talented filmmaker in his own right, the comments brought about a large wave of backlash with both fans and actors from Marvel movies publicly expressing their disagreement. In the BBC interview, Scorsese also clarified his stance on superhero movies, and though he praises the work that goes into them, he suggests watching them is akin to going to Disney World.
"Superhero films, as I said, are like another art form. They're not easy to make. There are a lot of very talented people doing good work, and a lot of young people really, really enjoy them. But I do think it's more of an extension of the amusement park."
Scorsese may not have had a hand in Joker, but his creative influence is still felt throughout the movie. As a fan of Scorsese's work, Todd Phillips had Joker pay homage to classic Scorsese movies like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. On its own, the movie has reached tremendous success in its own right, becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. As of now, no plans are set in stone for a sequel, though the movie's immense success will certainly have Warner Bros. giving it some thought. Time will tell if a follow-up movie is made and if it develops into more of a superhero movie than the first movie, as Scorsese suggests it would.
Serving as a standalone story with no connection to any other DC-based movies, Joker follows Joaquin Phoenix as clown-for-hire Arthur Fleck. The movie focuses on the decline of the character's mental health while showing just how Batman's most fearsome foe comes to be. In addition to knocking it out of the park at the box office, the movie has also been met with critical praise, with many calling for Joker and Phoenix to be recognized for multiple prominent awards when Oscar season arrives.
Joker is now playing in theaters everywhere. As for Scorsese, you can catch his next movie The Irishman now playing in theaters as well. The movie will also be available to stream on Netflix starting on Nov. 27. You can watch the clip of Scorsese speaking about Joker below, courtesy of Husam Sam Asi on YouTube.