Pouting ‘Joker’: Star storms off when asked if film violence might inspire more

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for TIFF)

While the wounds of El Paso and Dayton have not quite fully healed, many are wondering if perhaps the depiction of violence on the big screen might inspire more mass killings.

Joker” is a Batman origin story depicting the life and rise of a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime. Arthur Fleck (aka “Joker”) descends slowly into madness over the course of the film, which worries those who believe that such a visualization might prompt others to follow in the footsteps of the fictional character.

Joaquin Phoenix, who played Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line,” stars in the movie as “Joker.” Despite playing the jovial (if not somewhat completely insane) character, Phoenix himself was not ready to laugh when approached by a Telegraph reporter who questioned whether this movie might set off more violence.

When asked if the movie “might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about with potentially tragic results,” Phoenix became agitated.

“Why would you . . . ? No . . . no,” stated the actor before he exited the interview.

It took about an hour before the actor had cooled off enough to finish up the interview, and only after a “peace-brokering” session with Warner Bros. PR.

When attempting to explain his reaction and response to the admittedly shocking question, Phoenix stated that he had never even thought about something like that before.

But apparently this isn’t the first time that the moody star has decided to walk off. According to director Todd Phillips, Phoenix made a habit of simply walking out on scenes, even as the crew was still filming.

“In the middle of the scene, he’ll just walk away and walk out,” Phillips explained. “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.”

After a brief time, he would come back and be ready to re-shoot. This is not unlike the behavior of fellow “Batman” series actor Christian Bale, who went viral for an on-set meltdown during the filming of “Terminator: Salvation.”

“Am I going to walk around and rip your ——- lights down, in the middle of a scene?” Bale ranted. “Then why the —- are you walking right through? Ah-da-da-dah, like this in the background. What the —- is it with you? What don’t you ——- understand? You got any ——- idea about, hey, it’s ——- distracting having somebody walking up behind Bryce in the middle of the ——- scene? Give me a ——- answer! What don’t you get about it?”

With regards to the reporter’s question: Should Hollywood be held accountable for any potential violence sparked by their movies? Or should we recognize that those who can’t determine the difference between fantasy and reality are to blame for their own actions?

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