When the film was first announced, Joker was reportedly going to be produced by legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese. However, later Scorsese decided to pass on the project. In light of Scorsese’s recent comments on superhero movies, it’s only natural for us to wonder if the reason why Scorsese decided not to produce the film (or get involved in any creative capacity) is that it’s a comic book movie. As it turns out, the answer is a little bit of both.
In an interview with BBC (via Indiewire), Scorsese talked about why he eventually passed on the project and if Joker falls under the ‘superhero’ genre.
I know the film very well. I know [director Todd Phillips] very well. My producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff produced it. I thought about it a lot over the last four years and decided I did not have the time for it. It was personal reasons why I didn’t get involved. But I know the script very well. It has a real energy and Joaquin. You have remarkable work.
For me, ultimately, I don’t know if I make the next step into this character developing into a comic book character,” Scorsese said. “You follow? He develops into an abstraction. It doesn’t mean it’s bad art, it’s just not for me…The superhero films, as I’ve said, are another art form. They are not easy to make. There’s a lot of very talented people doing good work and a lot of young people really, really enjoy them.”
Before people start yelling at Scorsese again, he isn’t saying that superhero movies suck. He’s basically just saying it isn’t for him and it’s disappointing that the rise of the superhero genre has also caused films like The Irishman to not get a wide theatrical release. In fact, there wasn’t even a studio that wanted to produce the film until Netflix eventually agreed.
Joker is now the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. The film is still playing in Malaysian cinemas.