Martin Scorsese almost directed the 'Joker' movie

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Credit: Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences )

While director Todd Phillips is getting all the plaudits for the new Joker movie, in a parallel timeline they may have gone Martin Scorsese's way instead.

The Goodfellas auteur was at one time on board as an executive producer of the film, but sources have told The Hollywood Reporter that Scorsese was actually eyeing directing it too.

Reps for Scorsese have denied that he was planning to direct, while Warner Bros declined to comment on the matter.

Scorsese eventually dropped the producer credit too, though, and when the pitch from Todd Phillips came in, the director had other matters to attend to.

Read more: Horror over Gary Glitter song in new Joker movie

Instead, Scorsese turned his attention to making The Irishman, after the de-ageing technology he was looking at began to take shape, allowing him to bring his long-in-gestation mob epic to the screen.

Scorsese usually only lends his production prowess to either movies he intends to direct himself, or projects that could launch the careers of other new directors.

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (Credit: Warner Bros)

Either way, if Scorsese did have any bearing on the new Joker movie, we may never know what it was.

More recently Scorsese distanced himself from the realm of comic book movies completely, saying that Marvel movies are “not cinema”. Talking to Empire Magazine, the filmmaker compared the most successful movie franchise of all time to being like “theme parks”.

“It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being,” he said.

However, the story and tone of Todd Phillips' dark take on Gotham's Clown Prince has been compared variously to Scorsese's movies like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy.

Read more: Joker makes £200 million on its opening weekend

In the latter, Robert De Niro played Rupert Pupkin, a failed, mentally unhinged comedian in New York City, who becomes fixated on a talk show icon, played by Jerry Lewis.

In Joker, De Niro plays a talk show icon who eventually plays host to Joaquin Phoenix's failing, mentally unhinged stand-up Arthur Fleck.

So far, Joker is breaking a slew of records for an R-rated movie, having already coined in a healthy $272 million worldwide.