Todd Phillips, director of Joker, recently responded to concerns around the film's violent content.
Joker follows Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, who, after facing society's abuse and misfortunes, becomes the infamous villain. As the film prepares for its release next week, controversy has emerged from those who believe it may entice people to try to reenact similar actions in real life. This was only intensified when it was announced that one movie theater in Aurora, Colorado—where the horrifying mass murder took place during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012—would not be playing the new DC film.
As reported by Screen Rant, Phillips was asked about the backlash this week, who told Associated Press:
"I think that Aurora is obviously a horrible, horrible situation but even that is not something you blame on the movie. Quite frankly, if you do your own research about Aurora, that gentleman wasn't even going in as The Joker. That was misreported. His hair was dyed red and he was having, obviously, a mental breakdown. There's something horrifying about that but it wasn't related to it outside of the fact that it happened as a movie theater. This is not the thing that the movie is trying to represent. The movie still takes place in a fictional world. It can have real-world implications, opinions, but it's a fictional character in a fictional world that's been around for 80 years."
"The one that bugs me more is the toxic white male thing when you go, 'Oh, I just saw John Wick 3'. He's a white male, he kills 300 people and everybody's laughing and hooting and hollering. Why does this movie get held to different standards? It honestly doesn't make sense to me."
Just this summer alone, films with extensive violence such as Ready or Not, Midsommar, and Child's Play, were all released, begging the question Phillips has as well: Why is Joker any different?
The film premieres Oct. 4.