Joaquin Phoenix has stormed out of an interview with The Telegraph after being caught out by a question about his upcoming psychological thriller, Joker.
The origin story of Gotham’s greatest villain is eagerly anticipated to hit cinemas, it received an eight-minute standing ovation at its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Joker has already been heaped with critical acclaim among film reviewers. However, some have expressed concern in regards to the film’s supposed potential to spark empathy with a disillusioned and disregarded homicidal loner.
The Telegraph’s film critic Robbie Collin asked Phoenix whether Joker could ‘perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results’.
At this point, Phoenix reportedly left the interview and did not return until the issue was resolved following ‘an hour’s peace-brokering’ with a press representative from Warner Bros.
Upon his return, Phoenix was apparently far more ‘boyishly open’, enthusiastically discussing the role which some have suggested could well earn him an Oscar nomination.
Phoenix told The Telegraph how it was the quality of the script which first seized his attention:
Typically, the motivations of characters in most movies, certainly in the superhero genre, are very clear.
And that wasn’t the case in this, and to me, that was a challenge. There was something there to explore that I didn’t fully understand.
Drawing inspiration from disturbing cinematic character studies such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, Joker is being hailed as a chilling new classic in the genre.
A far cry from the glossy superhero adventures which have dominated the box office over the past few years, Joker is a grim and often sympathetic exploration of an unravelling mind.
The plot follows deluded would-be comedian Arthur Fleck, who feels ignored by society. His bitterness ultimately becomes murderous hate, in a tale some have worried will resonate with those from the so-called ‘incel’ community; individual who regard themselves to be ‘involuntarily celibate’.
The scenes punctuated with gun violence – as well as the themes of vengeance and taking control through bloodshed – has made many feel uneasy in an era of mass shootings and murderous internet ideologies.
According to The Telegraph, Phoenix prepared for the iconic role by watching footage of pseudobulbar affect; an emotional condition where sufferers experience uncontrollable laughter and tears.
Joker hits UK cinemas October 4.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.