Todd Phillips Defends Violence in 'Joker': "It Seems Actually Very Responsible to Make It Feel Real"
Published Oct 03, 2019Todd Phillips has been taking heat for the violence depicted in Joker, but the director continues to stand up for his work. Following a screening in New York last night (October 2), he argued that his realistic depiction of violence is "actually very responsible."
The film has been criticized by some for its potential to inspire copycat killing sprees, with many pointing out similarities between Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of the Joker and the man behind the 2012 Aurora shooting that took place at a movie theatre during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
Phillips, however, argued that the realistic depiction of violence in the film isn't glorifying such acts, but rather highlighting just how horrific they are and posing questions about why they happen.
"Isn't it a good thing to put real-world implications on violence? Isn't that a good thing to take away the cartoon element of violence that we've become so immune to?" he asked at last night's screening, as reported by Variety. "I was a little surprised when it turns into that direction, that it seems irresponsible because to me it seems actually very responsible to make it feel real and make it that weight."
Phillips added, "It's a complicated movie and I've said it before that I think it's okay that's it's complicated. I didn't imagine the level of discourse that it's reached in the world, honestly. I think it's interesting. I think it's okay that it sparks conversations and there are debates around it. The film is the statement and it's great to talk about it but it's much more helpful if you've seen it."
Phillips has previously responded to concerns about the violence in Joker by throwing John Wick under the bus and blaming the "far left" for commodifying outrage.
Warner Bros. issued a statement last week, saying, "neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind."
Joker opens in theatres on October 4. Read Exclaim!'s review.