Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix reportedly walked out of an interview promoting the film when he was asked about the film’s violence and it’s influence on the real world.

During an interview with Robbie Collin of the Telegraph, Phoenix reportedly walked out when Collin asked him if he was “worried that this film might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results?”

Phoenix reportedly responded saying, ‘Why? Why would you … ? No, no.” However, Collin does not mention this in his article with The Telegraph. He simply writes, “His fight-or-flight response kicks in.” He did add that Phoenix glared at him, “I can assure you, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of that thin-eyed glare in real life.”

Collin reports Phoenix would return an hour later after a Warner Bros. PR rep intervened. He adds, “Phoenix panicked, he later explains, because the question genuinely hadn’t crossed his mind before – then asks me, not for the last time, what an intelligent answer might have sounded like.”

Phoenix would also describe Joker’s character in the film as “posing questions with no easy answers.” He would go on to detail what drew him to playing Joker:

“Typically, the motivations of characters in most movies, certainly in the superhero genre, are very clear. And that wasn’t the case in this, and to me, that was a challenge. There was something there to explore that I didn’t fully understand.”

The Joker film has been lampooned by a number of “woke” individuals including former Marvel Comics editor Heather Antos who claimed the film is “problematic.” She would go on to falsely claim that the Aurora, Colorado shooter dressed up as the Joker in an insinuation that the upcoming Joker film could inspire violence. (Related: Valiant Comics Editor Heather Antos Falsely Claims James Holmes Was Inspired by Joker)

Following these criticisms of the film, the woke Rotten Tomatoes critics decided to review bomb the movie dropping its critic score a whopping 11 points from 86% to 75%. Leah Greenblatt at Entertainment Weekly described the film, “A movie with the message this one hammers home again and again… feels too volatile, and frankly too scary, to separate from the very real violence committed by young men like Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck in America almost every day.” (Related: Woke Rotten Tomatoes Reviewers Tank Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Critic Score)

Phoenix previously discussed the violence seen in Joker with SFX comparing it to an Avengers film, “I don’t know how many people die in Avengers, but there’s a lot.” He makes it clear the violence in Joker is very different from that in an Avengers movie, “The violence in this is immediate and on-screen, and a little more visceral and raw.”

Phoenix continues:

“But yeah, I didn’t have any hesitation about it. You always want it to feel real, and you want the little violence that we have to have an impact. What happens in a lot of movies is that you get numb to it, you’re killing 40,000 people, you don’t feel it. While being a fictional story in a fictional world, you always want it to feel real. Everything that happens in this movie as far as violence goes, you feel it.”

Director Todd Phillips also addressed the violence in the film. He told Digital Spy:

“I think one of the biggest jobs of a director is you’re the purveyor of tone. This movie was always written and meant to be a slow burn, and I think the violence is part of that slow burn.”

He continues:

“I think we’re very careful with it. A lot of people assume, or think, it’s going to be a really violent movie – but if you break it down to the amount of people that he has an issue with, I think the reason it affects you differently is because we tried to paint it with as realistic a brush as possible.”

Phillips concludes with a comparison to John Wick 3.

“I mean, you could watch a movie like John Wick 3 and there’s a much higher amount of violence – but when it comes [in Joker], it feels like a punch in the stomach. It is all just a balancing act of tone.”

Jeremy from Geeks and Gamers adds his thoughts on Phoenix walking out.

What do you make of Joaquin Phoenix’s response to the question about violence? Do you think he was right to get up and walk away?

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    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.