Joaquin Phoenix is out promoting the upcoming Joker movie. Doing interviews isn't always the most exciting thing for an actor to take part in as they often have to answer the same questions over and over again. However, Phoenix was caught off guard by one particular question in a recent interview, which prompted him to walk out. While Joker has been getting heaps of praise, there have been some critics who worry that the comic book movie may glorify violence.
Joker takes a different approach to the typical origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime. Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a man who is slowly going mad while society casts him aside. The movie centers on Fleck getting his revenge against his detractors and there are some who are worried that the movie might inspire people in similar situations to do the same thing in real-life. Phoenix was asked if Joker, "might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it's about, with potentially tragic results?" Instead of answering the question, the actor got up and left the interview.
Joaquin Phoenix later came back and finished the interview after talking with Warner Bros. PR over the question. There have been waves of mass shootings in North America over the past several years. In the summer of 2012, a man stepped into a midnight showing of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises and opened fire on the audience after throwing tear gas in the theater. 12 people were killed and 70 others were injured. There have been 283 North American mass shootings in 2019 alone, so the topic is on the minds of a lot of people and there is a big debate as to why these shootings keep occurring.
Regardless, Joker is poised to be a hit at the box office. Joaquin Phoenix's intense process to get into character has been widely talked about and it took its toll on the actor. He lost 50 pounds to get into the Clown Prince of Crime's mindset, though if he had his way, he would've kept his own weight. It was director Todd Phillips who was pushing for the massive weight loss, which was monitored by doctors and other health professionals. Phoenix drank a lot of water and ate lettuce to shed the pounds.
Joker is hardly the first movie to get caught up in real-world controversy and it will be far from the last. Blumhouse's The Hunt was supposed to hit theaters at the end of this month, but the studio decided to pull the movie after a wave of mass shootings and death threats. At first, the promotional campaign had been paused and then the movie was canceled altogether. Jason Blum hopes to have the movie released at some point, though there is currently no release date. The interview with Joaquin Phoenix was originally conducted by The Telegraph.