Martin Scorsese hasn't seen 'Joker': 'I saw clips of it'

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Martin Scorcese / Joaquin Phoenix in <em>The Joker</em>. (Photo: Getty Images / Warner Bros.)
Martin Scorcese / Joaquin Phoenix in The Joker. (Photo: Getty Images / Warner Bros.)

Everyone knows by now Martin Scorsese isn't a Marvel fan — but there are a lot of other films he hasn't gotten around to viewing either. During a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, The Irishman director admitted he hasn't seen the acclaimed film Joker. Scorsese said he's aware that Todd Phillips's dark comic-book thriller contained many homages to his own work, but explained it's not high on his list of films to view.

"I saw clips of it," Scorsese revealed. "I know it. So it’s like, why do I need to? I get it. It’s fine."

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Scorsese and Phillips are both nominated in the directing category at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards and are likely Oscar favorites, too. The directors sat down together for The Hollywood Reporter's director roundtable and Scorsese, who came close to producing Joker, explained why he dropped out and left it to his producing partner, Emma Tillinger Koskoff.

"Personal reasons, scheduling," Scorsese told THR about not producing Joker. "And quite honestly, Taxi Driver and King of Comedy and Last Temptation of Christ. Those were my fights. We went 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."

During the THR interview, Phillips actually came to Scorsese's defense over the director's comments that superhero movies are "not cinema" and are closer to "theme parks."

"Marty got a lot of heat for [what he said], but I understand it fully. We were struggling to get Joker made, which sounds funny because it exists in the superhero world, but it's really not one of those movies. We spent a year at Warner Bros., and I saw emails back and forth, literally, where they said, 'Does he realize we sell Joker pajamas at Target?' I go, 'Didn't movies come first and pajamas come second? Are the pajamas dictating the movies?'" Phillips recalled.

Prior to Joker's release the film was condemned by some critics for glamorizing violence. It's a critique Scorsese has faced over his decades-long career, too. When asked if his past movies tended to glamorize criminals and the violence they perpetrate, 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."

As for what Scorsese has seen this year, he told the Times he still needs to watch a lot films, but that he liked Bong Joon Ho’s dark satire Parasite.

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