Todd Phillips didn't think like a 'psychiatrist' whilst directing Joker

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 13 October 2019
Todd Phillips

Todd Phillips

Hollywood director Todd Phillips has confessed he didn't want to think like a "psychiatrist" whilst directing 'Joker'

Todd Phillips was determined not to think like a "psychiatrist" whilst directing 'Joker'.

The 48-year-old filmmaker has opened up on one particular scene in his much-discussed new movie, in which the titular character kills talk-show host Murray Franklin, rather than committing suicide as he'd originally planned to do.

Reflecting on the scene and his approach to the character, Todd told Collider: "We don't really talk a lot about what Arthur's symptoms are, we don't want to speak like psychiatrists. I didn't want even to tell him what we think Arthur has.

"The one thing we all had agreed on was Arthur has intense narcissism. Outside of that, his other mental conditions or what have you, we're not really sure what he suffers from, but I'm just thinking about the narcissism of, he wants to kill himself but wants to do it in front of ... you know like do this idea that it should mean something."

Joaquin Phoenix – who stars as the Joker in the new movie – agreed with the director's assessment of the character.

The Hollywood actor explained: "It's somebody that is seeking recognition and all of these personality types are suicidal, and yet they want their death to mean something. He has that part in his journal, where he says that, 'I hope my death makes more sense than my life.'

"So we'd remember talking early on about the sequence in which somebody wants to take their own life, but they want the biggest audience possible because in some ways they feel like that will fulfil the feeling that they need, this need for recognition."


  • 5 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 2h 2min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Todd Phillips
  • Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro
  • UK release: 4 October 2019

Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) is an unsuccessful clown who wants to be a comedian, but he gradually turns to evil. This dizzying origin story about Batman’s nemesis is like an ode to 1970s New York City; Phoenix is astonishing and Phillips’s grave vision never swerves. Unmissable.

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