“There were consequences to be paid”: Martin Scorsese Admitted To Not Backing Oscar-Winning Film ‘Joker’ as He Was Afraid of the Controversy

"There were consequences to be paid": Martin Scorsese Admitted To Not Backing Oscar-Winning Film 'Joker' as He Was Afraid of the Controversy
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Martin Scorsese, an eminent figure in the realm of cinema, has made an enduring impact on the industry. Born in 1942, this visionary filmmaker boasts a rich and diverse body of work spanning more than five decades. Renowned for his meticulous artistry and storytelling finesse, Scorsese has crafted iconic movies like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and The Departed

Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese

His distinctive talent for delving into intricate characters and themes, often entwined with elements of crime and morality, has garnered him numerous accolades, including Academy Awards. However, he once avoided producing a film to avoid controversy.

Also read: “I realized I was making a movie about all the white guys”: Martin Scorsese Rewrote ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Script Starring Leonardo DiCaprio to Avoid White Savior Trope


Martin Scorsese Explains Why He Backed Out From Producing Joker

During The Hollywood Reporter’s director roundtable, Martin Scorsese, who had come very close to taking on the production of Joker, detailed the reasons behind his decision to step away from the project, ultimately entrusting it to his producing partner, Emma Tillinger Koskoff.

Scorsese told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Personal reasons, scheduling. And quite honestly, Taxi Driver and King of Comedy and Last Temptation of Christ. Those were my fights. There were some consequences to be paid… We went ahead and did King of Comedy and we were attacked for that and the film was considered the flop of the year at Entertainment Tonight. [But by then] the whole of Hollywood had turned against that kind of filmmaking.”

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker
Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

Before the release of Joker, the film faced criticism from some critics who claimed it glamorized violence. This critique also echoed throughout Scorsese’s extensive career. When questioned about whether his earlier films tended to romanticize criminals and the violence they commit, Scorsese said, 


“Well, it is glamorous and attractive, is it not? It’s glamorous at first if you’re young and stupid, which a lot of people are. I was.”

In the THR interview, Todd Phillips actually stood up for Scorsese regarding the director’s remarks about superhero movies being “not cinema” and bearing a closer resemblance to “theme parks.

Also read: “I hope he gets to see the film one day”: Mark Ruffalo Lashed Back At Martin Scorsese, Said Superhero Movies are a Homage To Cinema

Dustin Hoffman Disapproved Of Martin Scorsese’s Idea

Dustin Hoffman made a significant career blunder when he declined to work with Scorsese during the early stages of the director’s career. Back then, Martin Scorsese had already helmed the 1973 cult classic Mean Streets. Nevertheless, when the director conceived a more ambitious project, this groundbreaking film didn’t initially seem like an enticing endeavor.

Dustin Hoffman
Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman

When discussing why Taxi Driver didn’t immediately captivate on paper, screenwriter Paul Schrader recounted, as documented by The Guardian,

“At the time I wrote it [Taxi Driver], I was in a rather low and bad place. I had broken with Pauline [Kael], I had broken with my wife, I had broken with the woman I left my wife for, I had broken with the American Film Institute and I was in debt.”

So, when Dustin Hoffman first perused the script, he opted not to take on the iconic role of Travis Bickle. Regarded as one of cinema’s iconic characters, Robert De Niro’s depiction of a disenchanted taxi driver navigating the nocturnal maze of New York City earned universal acclaim and recognition. Yet, the role had initially been extended to Dustin Hoffman.

Joker can be streamed on Prime Video.


Also read: “I expected him to be an auteur”: Sacha Baron Cohen Was Surprised After Working With Martin Scorsese in $185M Movie as Director Let Him Do His Crazy Antics Despite His Reputation

Source: The Hollywood ReporterThe Guardian


Written by Priya

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Priya’s a skilled writer who thrives on capturing the glitz, glamour, and drama of the entertainment industry. Whether it’s writing about the upcoming movies, or delving into the behind-the-scenes dramas, she always likes to be in the know. Priya intends to do the same during her time at Fandomwire.