Martin Scorsese's Netflix Decision for 'The Irishman' Offered "Creative Freedom"

Martin Scorsese, Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig, Fernando Meirelles, Lulu Wang and Todd Phillips joined for the annual Director Roundtable.

Martin Scorsese appeared on the annual Director Roundtable where he discussed the difficulty he faced in acquiring the financial backing for his film The Irishman. The director worked for nine years to fund the project, until he landed a deal with Netflix.

"Financially, the film would have complete backing," Scorsese told the roundtable. Netflix was "willing to take the risks with the computer-generated imagery," the anti-aging techniques used in the film, "and certainly the main thing for me was creative freedom."

"The tradeoff is that it's a streamer," Scorsese continued. He insisted it had a run in theaters, adding, "I've been at this like 47 years or something. I've had a few films play one or two weeks in a theater and taken out. Including, especially, King of Comedy."

Scorsese recounted that "New Year's Eve, I was putting my tie on and I look over at this TV and it said, 'Now the flop of the year,' and a curtain opened. It was King of Comedy. Everything had turned. They finished us off. They had enough of these crazed auteurs."

Scorsese went on to touch upon his decision to not serve as a producer on Joker while his producing partner Emma Tillinger Koskoff did: "It's a personal issue about the kind of picture I want to make at this point in my life. I'm more comfortable with this picture, Irishman, I'm more comfortable there."

Martin Scorsese won his only Oscar for directing The Departed. He has 11 additional Oscar nominations for films such as Raging Bull, Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street. The Irishman earned five Golden Globe nominations including best motion picture drama, best director (Scorsese), best screenplay, and best supporting actor nods for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Fernando Meirelles (The Two Popes), Lulu Wang (The Farewell) and Todd Phillips (Joker) joined for the annual Director Roundtable. The full roundtable is set to air Jan. 5 on SundanceTV. Follow all the Oscar-season roundtables at THR.com/Roundtables.