Martin Scorsese has revealed that he passed on the chance to direct the recent Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix.
The film, based on DC Comics characters, famously stars Phoenix as the Joker and is an origin story set in 1981 to tell the story of failed comedian Arthur Fleck who makes the slow ascent into becoming the crazed, murdering villain.
Eventually directed by Todd Phillips, who will be bracing himself for awards season following the overwhelming success of the film, Joker could have easily ended up taking a different direction after Scorsese opted to skip the opportunity to helm the project.
“I know the film very well. I know [director Todd Phillips] very well,” Scorsese said in an interview with IndieWire. “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: “For me, ultimately, I don’t know if I make the next step into this character developing into a comic book character, you follow? He develops into an abstraction. It doesn’t mean it’s bad art, it’s just not for me…It’s different from the superhero films, it’s very different.
“The superhero films, as I’ve said, are another art form. They’re 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.”