Actor Joaquin Phoenix attends the Joker premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. Picture: Geoff Robins/AFP
Actor Joaquin Phoenix attends the Joker premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. Picture: Geoff Robins/AFP

Joker star storms out of interview over violence question

Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix walked out of an interview promoting his new film after he was asked if dark scenes could inspire real life violence.

The Telegraph reports the actor, 44, muttered "why would you..?" before leaving the room, had to be talked back into finishing the chat by director Todd Phillips after an hour-long break.

It follows a New York Times article in which Phillips said the actor would sometimes stun co-stars by storming off on set without saying a word.

He said: "In the middle of the scene, he'll just walk away and walk out. And the poor other actor thinks it's them and it was never them ― it was always him, and he just wasn't feeling it."

Phoenix has been tipped for an Oscar for his performance as the titular character.

Despite early misgivings from fans and critics, screenings of the film have seen rave reviews pour in.

He has been branded "stunning", "fearsome" and "gripping" in the film which is the first stand-alone film for the legendary villain.

Heath Ledger previously posthumously won a best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of The Joker but critics have hinted he will be followed by Phoenix.

The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney said he performs the character with a "simmering psychosis".

He added: "The neo-noir psychological character study is arguably the best Batman-adjacent movie since The Dark Knight."

IGN critic Jim Vejvoda said: "Drawing its spirit and style from classic '70s and '80s films like Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, A Clockwork Orange, and Dog Day Afternoon, director Todd Phillips' Joker presents a Gotham City that is unmistakably a stand-in for the hellish New York City of the era.

"Phoenix delivers a tour de force. Joker isn't just an awesome comic book movie, it's an awesome movie, period."

It comes as Phoenix admitted he himself thinks "people are gonna be mad" that Joker doesn't "follow anything" from the original comic books.

The actor fears that the upcoming movie, based on the origin of the DC Comics villain, may not live up to fans expectations as he and the director chose to stray from the original material and focus on the "story of becoming Joker".

Phoenix said: "We didn't follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about.

"We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from.

"That's what was interesting to me. We're not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It's about this man."

Joker hits cinemas in Australia on October 3.

This story originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission


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