Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Joker Question That Made Joaquin Phoenix Walk Out

Joaquin Phoenix may play a man with an uncontrollable
cackle in director Todd Phillips’ Joker, but he certainly wasn’t laughing in an interview
about the dark and gritty comic book movie. Phoenix, who stars as failed comedian Arthur
Fleck in the Joker origin story film releasing on October 4, sat down for an interview with
The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin. During the conversation, Collin asked Phoenix
if he was worried that his performance might inspire real world copycat killers. The question apparently took Phoenix by surprise,
causing the actor to briefly walk out of the interview. Collin described what happened: “Unlike Heath Ledger’s inscrutable take on
the character in 2008’s The Dark Knight, Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian who still
lives with his elderly mother, is the horribly familiar enemy within. If the film hadn’t been set in the ’80s he
could easily be the latest online message-board extremist to take his grievances murderously
viral. Yet Phoenix doesn’t seem to have considered
this kind of question at all. So when I put it to him aren’t you worried
that this film might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with
potentially tragic results? his fight-or-flight response kicks in.” Phoenix reportedly replied, “Why? Why would you? No… no.” According to Collin, Phoenix then stood up,
shook his hand, and left the interview. “all I have are negative thoughts.” Roughly an hour later largely spent talking
with Warner Bros.’ PR team Phoenix returned to finish the interview. The actor explained that he left because he
had never considered the possibility, and needed time to try and figure out an appropriate
response. But the interview concluded without Phoenix
answering the question. And it’s a question that many critics are
already asking. Though most reviewers gave Joker high marks
after its worldwide debut at the Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2019, more than
one also suggested that the film may send a dangerous message and give viewers the wrong
idea about avenging their own personal grievances. Vanity Fair critic Richard Lawson wondered
in his review of Joker whether the film, quote, “may be irresponsible propaganda for the very
men it pathologizes.” Stephanie Zacharek at Time felt that Arthur
Fleck comes across uncomfortably similar to some of the most violent, dangerous people
who have inflicted incredible harm to people, particularly in America. She wrote in part, “All of Arthur’s travails are leading up to
a series of ‘See what you made me do?’ brutalities, most of which happen while he’s
dressed up in his clown suit. Violence makes him feel more in control, less
pathetic. Killing […] empowers him […] The movie
lionizes and glamorizes Arthur even as it shakes its head, faux-sorrowfully, over his
violent behavior.” Collin himself tweeted after watching Joker
at the Venice Film Festival that he thinks the movie is good, but he’s, quote, “worried
someone’s going to get killed” because of it. He stated in his full review, published by
The Telegraph, “This is a film that is going to stir up trouble
in the consciences of everyone who watches it, and almost certainly in the outside world
as well.” “When I was a little boy and told people I
was going to be a comedian, everyone laughed at me. Well, no one’s laughing now!” Other critics, though, have defended the film. The Outline’s Alex Nichols argued that the
idea of Joker’s violence potentially resulting in real-life tragedies, quote, “rests entirely
on the assumption that violent media breeds violent behavior.” Stephen Galloway of The Hollywood Reporter
agreed, arguing that the only people who would be inspired to violence are people predisposed
to it already. He said there’s “[no] evidence to show that a criminal even
one who imitates something on film wouldn’t have done something equally abominable at
another time.” It seems this type of complexity and ambiguity
may have been one of the biggest reasons why Phoenix signed on for Joker in the first place. As the actor told Collin after coming back
for the interview, he liked that Arthur Fleck as a character, quote, “pos[ed] questions
with no easy answers.” Decide how you feel about Joker when the film
opens in theaters on October 4. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
films are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

100 thoughts on “The Joker Question That Made Joaquin Phoenix Walk Out

  1. I think it's a great question that we all do need to ponder. Yes, we all love the Joker but we have to also understand that this take on The Joker is perhaps going to be the most realistic approach on the character than we have ever seen before and some people are going to be inspired by this either negatively or positively. But like all good movies its bound to happen. In my opinion, if this movie lives up to the trailers then its going to cause alot of controversy. With that being said, it would just more prove how amazing Todd Philips did portraying this Joker. With a character like The Joker controversy is bound to happen and if not then The Joker that is being portrayed isn't living up to the comics. Anyhow, I'm skeptical to believe that the actor Joaquin himself never pondered this question on set. I think he just wasn't ready to give an answer because whatever he said would really put him on the spotlight so I think it was a good move of him to not say anything.

  2. Lol. That question should have been thrown years and years ago, I mean, Dang! There's already a bunch of slasher movies out there with focus on "why they do that", "slice of life", or "grounded reasons to descend into madness" etc. etc. Hell! even so-called super/anti-heroes stories, have their own time of madness inspired from real life, and could possibly influence real life as well.

  3. I wish everyone who put this out there would mysteriously be killed. You put this energy out there. It never came to mind until someone said it out loud.

  4. The Joker character has been around for decades, through many iterations. So after all these years, some random doofus has the nerve to ask such a stupid question. Real life evil has always been around, long before the creation of The Joker. Idiot.

  5. Really? You wanna make an issue of a movie? With all the real world problems like trump and his profiteering cronies and nazis and other wackos with weaponry they shouldn’t posses shooting up schools and churches because of propagandized ideals from people like Miriam Hammer, Sean Hannity and Stephen Miller, et al? Get real.

  6. ughhhh i wish i could watch this in england or canada, i already know someone’s gonna shoot up the theatre over here in the US

  7. This flippin society. First it was video games now its movies. Somebody watches a movie and thinks its okay to go out and kill was already nuts before he saw the movie.

  8. The idiotic movie critics are already trying to pre-plan using the movie as a scapegoat for a persons own actions. Stop trying to blame movies, music, games, and whatever else is the scapegoat of the day. Most people seem to be able to live without going around murdering other people. Start worrying about the crimes and destruction the elected officials are committing. Start worrying about the crimes and destruction corporations are committing. Start worrying about the stuff that really matters, and not art and entertainment.

  9. Do people not get, if a person is so easily inspired by a MOVIE then they were destined to do bad things and commit crimes already, the movies have nothing to do with it

  10. At best “JOKER” will wind up creating a bunch of memes reflecting on the faults of self and society, similar to the effect of “Fight Club”.

  11. they had the film festival in the future?!!! Looper really is a Looper! Bruce willis would be very upset if he heard about this.

  12. Art is suppose to stir you and if someone wants to let that stir completely take over them that's on them and not wherever the inspiration was drew from
    If some nut job does something to an extreme it has nothing to do with the anyone but them
    Media loves trying to have a fall back blame guy for everything
    Some people are just fucking insane

  13. Just like dexter inspired so many serial killers? What a stupid ass question. Anyone lost hope in this generation besides me? Welcome to the fear driven, neutered world.

  14. The amount of angsty teen shows you see out now. Why not pose the question across all of them, or any show , movie with controversy. They actually have to watch the movie before anything.

  15. What! Common give the movie a break already! I am sick of all this what if statements that will impact on audience thing. Give the guy a break y'all.

  16. It's like blaming video games for whats going on right now, even though it doesn't do the same thing to people in other countries.

  17. What happened was Joaquin freaked out because he realized it's possible he might inspire sadistic killers. The reality? The Joker is a character that has been around for decades. I doubt it's going to all of sudden inspire ppl now from this film.

  18. Of course,entertainment does influence a persons mind and that could applied to basically anything to put it in simpler terms.Saying this movie doesn't effect a persons mind of how they view the world is just wrong and ignorant and im not saying the movie is bad cause it probably is good but everything that surrounds us does influence the way whe think.

  19. Ijits. Always. If there isn controversy, you can't sell tickets. Churches are selling the Apocalypse and none have apologized. Capitalism sells the Jungle theory…and everybody buyin.

  20. That was a little pretentiously rude on Phoenix's part by walking off. The question was a simple close ended one. All he had to do was pause, think, and answer yes or no and not answer at all. It wasn't inappropriate. He holds no responsibility of being anyone's role model. By that logic, do horror slasher films inspire serial killers? Yes? No? Or maybe the copy cat is probably already deranged?

  21. America is so fucked up🤣 a generation of pussies that can't handle a dark comic movie anymore. Gosh. It's an amazing movie and such a shame that all the critics are only talking about their political views. Why america, why?

  22. So I honestly think that it's cinematography, and that at it's core is an art form, and as art is a form of inspiration that can bring about an individual to such extremes but again it is showing this side of society through the format of this fictional character, wherein you have this malicious society that can push a single person to the edge of breaking and to those extremes, and so wouldn't the course of action in one individual to be decent to one another and not meet the world with animosity?

  23. The truth is, in reality, we all have that "Joker" personal within. Question is though, What are you capable of doing when you're hiding behind the mask? This is why characters like clowns and jokers creep me out. A sad face with a huge annoying smile? Like really?? But it would be interesting to have an intellectual conversation with "the Joker"

  24. Omg really? People watch Taxi Driver at the end people glorify Travis's killings at the end of the movie. And that came out over 20 years ago. Seriously people stop acting so sensitive and just enjoy the movie.

  25. All these seasons of Gotham and look! Oh that's right nothing happened.. Punisher!? Nope still nothing.. Guess even the BBC needs controversy

  26. If viewers are dumb enough to get "the wrong idea" about any movie, game, book, comic, album, etc, then that's on them and they were never stable to begin with. These kinds of questions are only asked for publicity, no one really gives a shit.

  27. Don’t know if I’m going crazy but how can critics give it a rave review on “October 31st 2019”?
    When today is only the September 24th…

  28. This is not a joke and should be deeply considered by anyone who wants to involve a potentially dangerous villan into their story. For money 😑 did you ever think about the people watching it and how it might affect them, no you only👏 think👏 about👏 yourself 👏😘😘😒. It can happen to anyone, not JUST people who are absolutely fucking psychotic to begin with. I watched a movie recently and now my entire life revolves around it. I cant even function in day to day life and wont beable to till I live out this fantasy. It started with an uncontrollable urge to completely tattoo the top half of my body, based on life experiences, significantly increase my biceps and chest muscles, steal an important relic, and just fucking destroy a giant portion of islands inhabated by indigenous peoples.
    There's also a stick that allows me to transform into different creatures depending on my mood or situation.
    🤔 and where tf am I gonna find a greedy, singing crab for the music numer. 🦀💎

  29. I mean if you need a film to inspire your ass to take vengeance or retribution for yourself, that's pretty sad. If the world has hurt you then don't wait for permission to return the favor, don't wait for inspiration or someone to help you, do it yourself. that way when you finally face the consequences of your actions, there won't be anyone or anything to blame but yourself.

  30. A lot of people don't know a publicity stunt to build hype before a movie launches when they see one. Welp sure works though huh?

  31. The guy that shot President Reagan was jazzed up about Jodi Foster… does that mean Jodi should have been cancelled?

    The reviewer knows nothing of Psychology. People don't decide to kill other people because of a movie. Sorry, noy buying it.

  32. thats like saying because BATMAN try to save his town and fight crime ..that after ppl watch it there gunna go out and fight crime cause this world is shit..i dont think thats happend…allways making more shit out of everything ……….its a fn movie deal with it..DEVILS REJECTS TILL WE DIE

  33. 3:00. That critics' opinion is 100% correct. Movies don't "invent" killers nor do they create justifications for criminal acts. Only people that are predisposed to hurting &/or harming others already would cite a movie as a "motivation" to commit crimes.

  34. Ahh reminds me if the time i dressed up as a clown and did the IT dance in front of the neighborhood. Everyone called the cop and came out to enjoy themselves.

  35. This is a ridiculous thing to ask, seeing as how ANY movie EVER made could be blamed for copycat sort of events! Would you ask the same question about all horror films, any other version of comic book villains, or any "based on a true story" films?! I mean wtf!

  36. Hope Phoenix doesn't stress to much about it. The reporter is an fool or a prick. No one can now take any roles depicting a bad guy as it might confuse someone! Josh Brolin should be very afraid as someone might try and kill half the universe. He must be held accountable! It's not bad to be good and playing a bad guy….

  37. This movie is pro-incel propaganda. It's going to encourage them to rise up so they can pursue their conservative, sexist, racist, nazi agenda

  38. So some coward will hurt his or herself or even worse hurt someone else because of this movie? Just blows my mind what we've become. And it's only the beginning..

  39. Jesus it’s exactly the opposite. The movie shows people that exists out there already. It’s not that the movie that creates them. If we want to deny this fact then we are the sick ones. Maybe we should learn not to exclude people from societies and avoid these issues. But my God, a movie won’t create anything that is not already out there. It just shows the truth some people may live in. Can we accept it and do something about it?

  40. Am I the only one who heard the narrator say the movie GOT high marks at the premier in Venice on October 31, 2019? It's still September 2019. Is there that big a time difference between Venice and Oregon?

  41. Robbie Collin is a moron, and that's why the question is extremely stupid.

    Realistically, anything can inspire anyone. It's about as dumb as blaming video games for similar things.

    It's just stupid people making stupid excuses for stupid actions.

  42. The Telegraph,leftest rag full of snowflakes and the BBC,the tv station that wants to take its free tv license from over 75yr olds,including war vets…shameless

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