Martin Scorsese caught flack earlier this month for dismissing comic book films, despite many fans pointing out he was a producer on Joker, but a new report claims that, while he might be credited as a producer, he quietly departed the project and had his producing partner take over the necessary responsibilities. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a Warner Bros. source revealed to them that Scorsese's initial involvement was born out of a need for a producer based in New York City, only for Emma Tillinger Koskoff to enlist much of the crew from Scorsese's The Irishman to shoot the DC Comics film.
The outlet pointed out that Scorsese isn't quick to serve as a producer on a film unless he was directly involved in developing the project or if he wants to use his notoriety to boost a project from lesser-known filmmakers. As Joker doesn't fit into either of these categories, it seems more likely that, while Joker has been drawing comparisons to some of Scorsese's most iconic films, he served as a producer in name only, with Koskoff handling whatever his obligations might have been.
This report would fall much more in line with Scorsese's overall view of comic book movies, as he revealed recently that he views superhero films more as theme park rides and not as actual "cinema."
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese revealed to Empire Magazine about comic book films. “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
Understandably, his involvement with Joker and comments dismissing superhero films were called out as being hypocritical, but if he wasn't involved in the new film, he likely doesn't want to distance himself from Joker on the record just for the sake of clarifying his thoughts on the genre.
The Hollywood Reporter also noted that some theories about Scorsese's involvement was to convince Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred in Scorsese's The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, Gangs of New York, and more, to take on the role of the DC Comics villain, though multiple sources confirmed that director Todd Phillips was only ever interested in Joaquin Phoenix for the role.
Joker is in theaters now.
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