Published Sep 25, 2019The Joker discourse is heating up as we approach the film's October 4 release date. Yesterday (September 24), families of the victims of the 2012 Aurora massacre pleaded with Warner Bros. to be more responsible in its depictions of gun violence. Now, director Todd Phillips says his film is being held to an unfair standard.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Phillips explained that the fingerwagging over Joker is hypocritical considering how super violent films like the John Wick franchise get a free pass.
"The movie still takes place in a fictional world. It can have real-world implications, opinions, but it's a fictional character in a fictional world that's been around for 80 years," he said. "The one that bugs me more is the toxic white male thing when you go, 'Oh, I just saw John Wick 3.' He's a white male who kills 300 people and everybody's laughing and hooting and hollering. Why does this movie get held to different standards? It honestly doesn't make sense to me."
In the same interview, Phillips acknowledged the 2012 Aurora massacre where a shooter opened fire on a theatre during a screening of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, leaving 12 dead. James Holmes, who is serving life in prison for the murders, was reported to be wearing a Joker costume when he committed the massacre.
"I think that Aurora is obviously a horrible, horrible situation but even that is not something you blame on the movie," Phillips said. "Quite frankly, if you do your own research about Aurora, that gentleman wasn't even going in as the Joker. That was misreported. His hair was dyed red and he was having, obviously, a mental breakdown. There's something horrifying about that, but it wasn't related to it outside of the fact that it happened at a movie theatre. This is not the thing that the movie is trying to represent."
Watch Phillips discuss Joker with the Associated Press below. The film opens October 4, and you can read Exclaim!'s review here.
Writer-director Todd Phillips says it isn't fair to link his #JokerMovie to real-world violence: "It's a fictional character in a fictional world that's been around for 80 years." pic.twitter.com/NcT4d9fjOQ— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) September 24, 2019