Joaquin Phoenix Storms out of Interview After Being Asked if ‘Joker’ Could Incite Violence

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Joker has been one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year – Joaquin Phoenix is playing the complicated Joker character in the latest adaptation. The role has a turbulent past, with Heath Ledger dying following an intense retreat into the part back in 2008.

Phoenix has been busy promoting the movie for the past couple of weeks and all seemed to be going smoothly ahead of the picture’s release date on October 4th.

That is until one press interview went horribly wrong. A question about the glamourization of violence in the movie clearly unsettled the Oscar-nominated actor, so he walked out.

Violence is an integral element of many movies, and, naturally, the origin story of Batman’s arch-villain will contain scenes of a violent nature. What is most intriguing about this incident is how Phoenix reacted when the subject came up.

Continue scrolling to learn why Joker is causing such controversy, and why Joaquin Phoenix became so frustrated with the line of questioning…


Joker sets to examine the man behind the makeup.

What’s interesting about these origin movies that are currently being churned out by both DC and Marvel, is that fans are being offered a closeup insight into the characters behind the costumes.

We have already had a taste of this with Wonder Woman.

In this origin story, we were given a fascinating insight into the past of Wonder Woman through the phenomenal performance of Gal Gadot. Naturally, with Wonder Woman being a morally good character, watching how she became the “wonder” woman we have gotten to know on our screens is slightly different to what we can expect with the Joker. 

This movie promises to give audiences an in-depth look at the difficulties that Arthur Fleck experiences before becoming the evil villain we know as “The Joker.”  

We all hear stories in the news that make us think: “How could somebody do that?” It’s the ambition of the Joker origin story to examine that. Reviewing the movie, Variety wrote that it is ” a dazzlingly disturbed psycho morality play, one that speaks to the age of incels and mass shooters and no-hope politics, of the kind of hate that emerges from crushed dreams.”

It’s backward to think that anyone is born inherently evil. People only turn to morally corrupt actions when they lose faith in society and the world around them. This movie is set to be an interesting examination of how a series of events can lead an everyman like Arthur Fleck to become one of the most evil villains of all time.

Anyone hoping to catch a movie that revolves around the Joker creating destructive weapons, causing mass violence, and running around as though he’s having the time of his life whilst doing it, won’t enjoy this one. This movie is about exploring the pain behind the Joker’s make-up, it’s about what leads up to his attack against society, rather than the fight itself

If you’ve watched anything written by Scott Silver before, you’ll understand why DC came to him to create the script for the complicated character. Silver has a long history in writing characters wrapped in violence and telling the other side of their story.

The Fighter.

The biographical movie about the life of a boxer, Micky Ward (played by Mark Wahlberg), won a string of awards and was considered a major success. Silver was part of the writing team that brought the movie to life. Christian Bale played Micky Ward’s older half-brother, Dicky Eklund. Bale actually won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal. Why I bring this up is because Dicky was not a nice guy. He was complicated and cruel, and a real brute to his younger brother. Yet there was deep sympathy and understanding to be found in his character, through the wonderful writing and Bale’s performance.


One of the first movies that Silver wrote was the highly controversial and deeply moving story about a male-prostitute. The narrative follows John (played by David Arquette), who wants to spend the night in a fancy hotel to celebrate his twenty-first birthday. John is a character that has found himself spat out by society and his misdeeds are a consequence of his situation. Through his writing, Silver manages to turn a character who could be seen as a druggy degenerate into someone that the audiences really care about.  

8 Mile.

No one could forget the phenomenal quasi-bio-pic of Eminem’s life, or rather that of the rapper, “B-Rabbit.” Silver, lo and behold, also wrote this picture. Through his ability to really capture a deep sensitivity and interrogate the complicated nuances of a troubled character, audiences were impressed to feel great sympathy towards the controversial rapper.

Most people won’t consider Phillip’s past experience to be in examing the psychological motives of his characters. In contrast to Silver, Todd Phillips is famous for writing and directing some of the best action-comedy blockbusters of the past decade.

Phillips is the man behind The Hangover trilogy.

He also made Due Date, Starsky & Hutch, and worked on Borat. So we can expect that Phillips might bring some much-needed humor to the Joker movie.

Sure, Todd Phillips might have had an impressive career making The Hangover movies and whatnot, but it’s the documentary that he made at film school that set him up for the Joker. Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies was a documentary written and directed by Phillips about the life and death of controversial punk rocker, GG Allin. Phillips made the doc while he was just a junior at NYU. The doc actually went on to become the highest-grossing student movie of all time.

Both Phillips and Silver have experience getting to the roots of controversial and difficult characters. It only makes sense that the pair joined forces to make the Joker movie.

Even when demonstrating the mentally unhinged side of the character, past portrayals have always had violence at the core.

This new movie will see an insight into the Joker’s mental state outside of violence. It seems the movie will demonstrate how past traumas have affected the character and led to his later violent antics. From financial pressures, a turbulent relationship with his father, inability to connect with others, career failure… I think many will find something relatable in Arthur Fleck’s descent into madness.

Phoenix has played many roles that have seen him battle complicated human experience. In the movie Her, we saw Phoenix’s character fall deeply in love with the operating system in his cell phone. As comical as the movie might sound, it’s actually a picture that explores the loneliness of the modern world and our inability to connect, as well as to disconnect. The sincerity that Phoenix brings to the role really pulls the audience through this tricky story.

The character of the Joker has been portrayed by so many great actors. Most famously, perhaps, by the late Heath Ledger. Who it is widely understood, lost his mind in the process of getting into the role. Now, to be the guy that plays the Joker in his origin story could seem like a big challenge. The movie set to examine the psychological nuances that made the villain what he was, after the phenomenal 2008 performance given by Ledger, is certainly big boots to fill. Phoenix has demonstrated his ability to step into the boots of legends with his outstanding portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line, wherein he delivered a deeply believable and honest portrayal of the late country singer, flaws and all.

When Joaquin was only nineteen-years-old, his big brother and close friend, River Phoenix, died of an overdose. The pair were celebrating Halloween at the Viper nightclub in Los Angeles when River took the fateful cocktail of drugs. It was Joaquin who called 911, but it was too late. The death of his older brother, who had always coaxed Joaquin into acting had a profound effect on the young guy. It took him two years before he could pick up a script again.

Grappling with themes of sadness is key to Joker.

If anyone can sensitively deal with portraying mankind’s complicated battle with sadness and depression, it’s Joaquin Phoenix. I can honestly say, I believe that this movie will perhaps be the greatest picture of the year. Sadly, some journalists are tarnishing the movie’s aims with talk of it sympathizing with evil, making allowances for violence, etc.

And, hey, I’m not saying that they should be banned! I play GTA all the time, doesn’t mean I’m going to do something awful. The new Joker movie isn’t going to encourage people to be violent either. The movie will hope to uncover why people might act out in violent and evil ways.

Apparently, The Telegraph journalist, Robbie Collins asked: “Aren’t you worried that this film might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results?” I mean, in fairness, what kind of dumb question is that? It’s like asking Miley Cyrus if she thinks that people have unprotected sex to her music.

In response to the journalist, Phoenix said: “Why? Why would you…? No, no,” before standing up and leaving the room. It took an hour for the actor to gather himself and return to the room.

Maybe it has something to do with his turbulent past or his grassroots upbringing, but there’s no denying that Joaquin Phoenix is sensitive. This is an actor that really cares about the world and is not the kind of person that could probably sleep at night if they thought that they had caused some serious harm to someone else.

The actor apologized for walking out and explained that he had panicked because he had genuinely not considered the question before. I guess making a movie that was stepping away from the violence of the Joker’s character probably meant that Phoenix didn’t imagine that he would be asked if it would incite violence.

In extension, the movie isn’t intending to glamorize violence. It would be curious that, in feeling a sense of pity for a character, audiences would want to become like him. From all we’ve learned so far about the Joker movie, it doesn’t seem as though anyone will aspiring to be just like Joaquin Phoenix’s tragic character, right?

When October 4th rolls around, I expect we’ll all be flooding to the movie theatres to watch this highly anticipated picture. We can judge for ourselves whether Phillips, Silver, and Phoenix have made a movie which will incite violence… I, for one, believe that it will do nothing of the sort.

If we employ the same principle to Hustlers

Do you think any interviewers asked J-Lo if her character would inspire young girls to be strippers? I very much doubt it.

I doubt it. From the sounds of it, by going back into the room and explaining to the journalist why the question had made him uncomfortable, Joaquin saved this one.  

You can watch the trailer for the highly anticipated Joker here…

October 4th can’t come soon enough. Joker received an eight-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. Keep scrolling to read what everyone said…