Actor Joaquin Phoenix says he took a conscious decision to not address the controversy around the violent themes of his recent feature Joker as he feared that it might actually lead to extreme incidents. The film had received unanimous praise for Phoenix's acting as Joker, a villain in the Batman comic mythology but detractors believe his portrayal hits too close to home in a country where gun violence is real issue. In an interview with Los Angeles Times, Phoenix said he felt blindsided by the criticism coming towards film's way.
"It was an awkward position to be in. Because I thought, 'Well, I can't address this because this is the thing that is potentially part of the problem that's precisely what you shouldn't do.' "So it suddenly seemed like I was being evasive and trying to avoid this topic because it made me uncomfortable. But really I was thinking. ‘This is the very thing that would excite this kind of personality'" Phoenix said.
Families of victims who were killed in the 2012 mass shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, during the screening Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises", had written a letter to Warner Bros, the studio behind 'Joker', calling for donations to gun-victim charities because the film "presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story". Warner Bros had defended the film, saying the aim of storytelling is to "provoke difficult conversations around complex issues."
In September, Phoenix had walked out of an interview with the UK's The Telegraph when questioned about the violence in the film. He later told a publication that audience is capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong.