With the Golden Globes set to go down this weekend The Irishman director Martin Scorsese has been opening up about the year’s biggest box office blockbuster, The Joker. Scorsese also revealed how he nearly retired some years ago.
Scorsese will see himself in contention at this weekend’s event for the Best Director award, something that will likely be replicated at the Academy Awards too. His nod comes for his Netflix-released gangster epic, The Irishman, which cost nearly $160 million to make.
The director chose to go through Netflix after realising that no studio would give him such a budget for the film which starred Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. It’s a situation which has punctuated his thinking of late and led him to call superhero movies “theme parks” saying they “are not cinema.”
It’s something which Scorsese addresses in his latest profile with the New York Times, as the director looked for a studio that would support his pursuit of art. It’s a problem he’s had with the industry ever since his 2004 Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
“The last two weeks of editing and mixing ‘The Aviator,’ I said if this is the way you have to make films then I’m not going to do it anymore,” said Scorsese, revealing the first time he considered retirement from filmmaking. “It’s like being in a bunker and you’re firing out in all directions. You begin to realize you’re not speaking the same language anymore, so you can’t make pictures anymore.”
Ever since then, Scorsese has been intent on using independent financiers so that he can maintain creative control. It’s something Netflix gave the director on The Irishman and it worked to devastating effect. Yet, he will return to the wrath of the studios when he releases his Paramount-backed Killers of the Flower Moon.
The NYT also asked Scorsese about some of the other contenders for this year’s biggest prizes. While Scorsese picked out Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite as a favourite for the awards he scoffed at the comic-book origin film he turned down, Joker. While acknowledging that the Todd Phillips production has used his films Taxi Driver and Mean Streets as inspiration, he admitted he hadn’t watched the film.
What’s more, he also confirmed that he probably wouldn’t. Scorsese said, “I saw clips of it. I know it. So it’s like, why do I need to [see it]? I get it. It’s fine.” It appears Scorsese isn’t worried about endearing himself to the fans of Marvel or DC and judging by the brilliant work on The Irishman he knows what he’s doing.