“I know the film very well,” Scorsese said” “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 also stated another reason he was turned off by Joker: the film’s inevitable narrative arc. The follows clown and stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck as he makes the transformation into the Joker. Scorsese appears to be interested in Arthur’s life but not Joker’s or the “comic book character” that he develops into.
“For me, ultimately, I don’t know if I make the next step into this character developing into a comic book character,” Scorsese said. “You follow? He develops into an abstraction. It doesn’t mean it’s bad art, it’s just not for me…The superhero films, as I’ve said, are another art form. They are 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.”
Joker has made over $930 million at the box office and is the highest-grossing R-rated release in history.