Martin Scorsese Considered Making ‘Joker’ For ‘Four Years’ But Opted Out Due To ‘Personal Reasons’


Warner Bros.

Back when Joker was first announced in August 2017, initial reports indicated that legendary Goodfellas and Casino director Martin Scorsese was attached to co-producer alongside director Todd Phillips (The Hangover, War Dogs), however, the legendary director eventually stepped away from the project, due to what he called “personal reasons”:

“I know the film very well. 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 told BBC.

Given that Joker ended up being essentially one massive homage to Scorsese classics such as Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, it’s perhaps for the better that the man himself was not directly attached to the film’s creation.

It’s not like the film needed Scorsese’s help either, as Joker is still breaking records over a month after its release. Just this past weekend, it crossed $900 million at the global box office, further extending its record of being the highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time.

However, the rampant success of Joker may ultimately be its undoing, as the massive box office haul has made the possibility of a sequel far more likely than anyone would have expected prior to the film’s release. When you have a film as perfect as Joker, it’s best to just let its legacy stand-alone and not water it down with a subpar follow-up.


Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him on Twitter @eric_ital or via email