It’s no secret that Joker leans heavily on old-school Martin Scorsese classics like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy.
This is, after all, a dark and at-times brutal character study rooted in New York City, so you can see why the original script from Scott Silver and director Todd Phillips caught the eye of Scorsese – so much so, in fact, that the legendary filmmaker was actually linked with the DC project himself, though it’s since been confirmed that he only “considered producing” Phillips’ new take on the classic Batman villain.
Alas, as revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, Joker‘s production ran in parallel to The Irishman‘s, leaving Scorsese with little choice but to quietly withdraw from the former movie and focus all his energies on Netflix’s soon-to-be-released gangster epic.
Scorsese quietly left the comic book-based film, and his producing partner, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, took over Joker producing duties and rolled over most of the crew from Irishman to work on Joker (De Niro also straddled both films). Although it has been speculated that Scorsese initially was brought into the mix to entice his frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio, multiple sources say that is not true, and Phoenix was the only actor considered by Phillips.
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That’s not to say Scorsese didn’t have any input whatsoever; while Joker was still in its infancy, the filmmaker spoke to Todd Phillips about the original script and how it could bring a new twist to DC’s Clown Prince of Crime.
Here’s how Phillips recalled that conversation:
We had a nice conversation about the script on the phone. He told me what he loved about it. I don’t necessarily want to talk about what we talked about, but it was amazing for me.
The so-hot-right-now Joker movie has already placed its stamp on the global box office. Not only did it eclipse the likes of Dark Phoenix and Justice League at the domestic box office, but it also raised the bar for Mondays in October. Up next? A crucial second weekend in which the pic is expected to reign supreme, even with the onslaught of new competition (see: Will Smith’s Gemini Man) to contend with.