Todd Phillips doesn't understand Joker controversy
- Bang Showbiz
- 22 January 2020
'Joker' filmmaker Todd Phillips insisted he wasn't "prepared" for the controversy surrounding the portrayal of violence in the DC movie
Todd Phillips wasn't "prepared" for backlash over the violence in 'Joker'.
The filmmaker was at the helm of the DC blockbuster – which starred Joaquin Phoenix as the iconic Batman villain – and he insisted he didn't expect the level of debate surrounding the movie when it was released last year.
He told Empire magazine: "I was not prepared, quite frankly.
"I was taken aback by people talking about the level of violence in the movie as if it was irresponsible, when to Joaquin and me, it had felt like the most responsible portrayal of violence I'd seen in a long time in movies.
"When you put real-world consequence on violence, isn't that a responsible way of dealing with it?Isn't showing violence to be disgusting and horrible more effective and responsible than celebrating violence?"
The movie stars Phoenix as struggling stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck who transforms into the Crown Prince of Crime following a series of traumatic events that affect his psyche and outlook.
And Phillips insisted "shining a light" on certain issues isn't the same as "endorsement", and described the idea they are one and the same as "baffling".
He added: "Do we want to pretend that we're not failing as a human experiment? Do we want to pretend that these people don't exist? What is the harm in shining a light on that? Isn't that a good thing?
"So I was surprised at that, becoming a tool to be used against the movie when it's like, isn't that what's great about being filmmakers – that we are able to explore these things in a safe environment?
"It's a movie, ultimately – and representation has never equalled endorsement, so it was baffling."