A hit comedy movie director revealed that today’s “woke culture” drove him away from the genre in his latest projects.
Todd Phillips, who directed the hit comedies “The Hangover” and “Old School” explained that he turned to drama for his new movie, “Joker,” because he found that “comedies don’t work anymore” in today’s easily offended society.
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he told Vanity Fair.
“There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the f***ing funny guys are like, ‘F**k this s**t, because I don’t want to offend you,'” the 48-year-old director said.
He went on to call out the social media critics who attack dissenters.
“It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’ I’m out, and you know what? With all my comedies — I think that what comedies, in general, all have in common — is they’re irreverent,” Phillips said.
He explained the thinking behind “Joker,” which he reportedly presented to Warner Bros. “as a kind of anti-superhero film, with practically no CGI effects or cartoonish plots, but instead a dark realism drained of heroics,” according to Vanity Fair.
“So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but f***ing comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from,” Phillips told the publication, which noted the film “doubles as a critique of Hollywood.”
But it seems even in his venture into drama, the director is still coming under fire for his characterization of the “an alienated white guy whose failure to be funny drives him into a vengeful rage.”
“We didn’t make the movie to push buttons,” Phillips told The Wrap in a recent interview.
“I literally described to Joaquin at one point in those three months as like, ‘Look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film’,” he said, referring to lead actor Joaquin Phoenix.
“It wasn’t, ‘We want to glorify this behavior.’ It was literally like ‘Let’s make a real movie with a real budget and we’ll call it f–ing Joker’. That’s what it was,” he said, pushing back at criticism for the film which received an eight-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August.
Families of the victims killed in the 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater – during a showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” — called on Warner Bros. last month to make donations to end gun violence. They contended that “Joker” as a film “presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story.”
“Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind,” Warner Bros. responded in a statement. “It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”
Phillips decried the need by people to attack something.
“I think it’s because outrage is a commodity, I think it’s something that has been a commodity for a while,” he said. “What’s outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It’s really been eye-opening for me.”