Martin Scorsese ended up being a central figure in 2019’s comic book movie discourse. Now, people want to know what happened with Joker. Scorsese was supposed to be producing the comic book film, but ended up declining the chance to be a part of one of the year’s biggest hits. Now, he explains that decision during a Director Roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter and Sundance TV. It turns out things are a bit more complicated that they would appear. Earlier this week the director brushed off questions about why he hadn’t seen the film with the New York Times. He told them. “I saw clips of it. I know it. So it’s like, why do I need to? I get it. It’s fine.” This was both cheered and booed by different sections of the Internet. Some fans of the genre added this to the pile of statements that seem hypocritical. For people who kind of hate the genre, they point to his collective refusal to engage with the material as a read on the necessity of these films in the popular consciousness. Whatever the case, it’s nice to hear it straight from the legend.
“Personal reasons, for me,” Scorsese began. “Also, scheduling. Quite honestly, Taxi Driver and King of Comedy and The Last Temptation of Christ. Those are my fights. Actually, Taxi Driver wasn’t a fight. We did it, and there were some consequences to be paid at this point in time. Then we went ahead and did King of Comedy, and we were attacked for that. That film was considered the flop of the year on the new show Entertainment Tonight. On New Year's Eve, I was putting my tie on, and I look over and they said, ‘Now, the flop of the year,’ then the curtain opened and it was King of Comedy. Everything had turned, all of Hollywood had turned against that kind of filmmaking really.”
"Those were my fights." #TheIrishman's Martin Scorsese reveals how 'Taxi Driver,' 'The King of Comedy' and 'The Last Temptation of Christ' played a role in him not producing #Joker. The full Director Roundtable airs Jan. 5 on @SundanceTV https://t.co/ZCM1Zbt8i4 #THRRoundtable pic.twitter.com/oHdMEFX7ht— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 3, 2020
Back during the press tour for his latest film, The Irishman, Scorsese got asked about his thoughts on the growing trend of superhero cinema. He noting that he had tried to enjoy them, but they ultimately weren't for him. What followed was an absolute firestorm.
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese told 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.”