Martin Scorsese has been weighing in a lot on the state of comic book movies this fall movie season, but one topic he has yet to discuss until now is “Joker.” In a video interview with BBC’s Sam Asi, Scorsese reveals that he was somewhat involved with the “Joker” production for four years before dropping out. When first details on the movie broke in August 2017, it was reported that Scorsese was attached to “Joker” as a producer and was potentially eyeing the director’s chair. Some reports claimed that Warner Bros. wanted Scorsese involved so the film could land his muse Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. Alas, the project was officially greenlit in July 2018 without Scorsese attached in any capacity.
“I know the film very well,” Scorsese told BBC about “Joker.” “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.”
Scorsese added another reason he was turned off by “Joker” was the film’s inevitable narrative arc. The “Joker” script finds a downtrodden clown-for-hire and failed stand-up comedian named Arthur Fleck transforming into the Joker super-villain after embracing violent acts and upending authority. Scorsese appears to be interested in Arthur’s life but not Joker’s.