Joaquin Phoenix defends 'Joker' violence

Joaquin Phoenix defends 'Joker' violence

Joaquin Phoenix has defended Joker after families of 2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting expressed concern over the violence in the movie.

Phoenix, who portrays the disturbed titular villain in the Todd Phillip-directed movie, said he trusts viewers to differentiate between right and wrong.

"Well, I think that, for most of us, you’re able to tell the difference between right and wrong," he said at a press conference for Joker, according to IGN.

"And those that aren't are capable of interpreting anything in the way that they may want to. People misinterpret lyrics from songs. They misinterpret passages from books. So I don't think it's the responsibility of a filmmaker to teach the audience morality or the difference between right or wrong. I mean, to me, I think that that's obvious," he added.

The film is generating Oscar buzz for Phoenix's brilliant portrayal of a lonely man who turns to violence but it has also worried the families of those killed in the Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. They have written a letter to Warner Bros ahead of the film's release in October.

The group has asked the studio to use their political clout to "leverage in Congress to actively lobby for gun reform. Keeping everyone safe should be a top corporate priority for Warner Brothers."

In its response, the studio, according to Indiewire, said, "Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bipartisan legislation to address this epidemic.

"At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues. Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero."

But questions about the violence in the film have been troubling the cast. Phoenix recently walked out of an interview with The Telegraph after he was asked whether the violence in the film will have an impact in the real world.

"Why? Why would you…? No, no,” Phoenix said before leaving the room, according to the newspaper.

He returned to finish the interview an hour later but the question went unanswered.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox