LOS ANGELES (AP) – There may not be such a thing as bad publicity, but the Joker's spotlight is testing the limits of this old cliche.
The story of the origin of the classic Batman villain inspired pieces in defense of and against the film. This was hailed as something that Joaquin Phoenix would eventually receive for the Oscar, and also announced that he was "dangerous", "irresponsible" and even "friendly". Last week, some of the parents of victims at the 2012 Aurora movie show even wrote to the CEO of Warner Bros. requesting support for weapons causes. The studio came out with a statement that the movie was not "endorsement of real-world violence of any kind."
It was made for a sophisticated high-profile film that triumphantly began its premiere and then won the highest award from the Venice film. And while the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, it was also carefully reviewed and put the filmmakers on the defensive. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips doesn't mind discussing the
"You will talk about this. 19659002] "It's a little disturbing when people write thoughts without looking at them. And even in their thoughts they think, 'I don't need to see it to know what it is.' It strikes me as frankly, how easy the far left may sound like the far right when it suits their program, "Phillips said. disappointed. "
Preventive counteraction is even more disturbing to Phillips because he hopes to inspire conversations: about weapons, about violence and about treating people with mental illness. " Part of the reason we make the movie is the answer the world of comic book movies, "says Phillips." Like, 'Why is this celebrated? Why is this funny? Why is this fun?' What are the consequences of violence in the real world? "
The film itself is an exploration of a character with a slow burn of how a mentally ill middle-aged man named Arthur Fleck becomes a Joker. When the audience loses his life, he works as a hiring clown, lives with his mother in a ruined Gotham apartment and occasionally checks in with a social worker. He has a card that he gives to people to explain that his spontaneous and painful bursts of laughter are due to a medical condition. It seems his only joy is watching the talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) in the evening.
"The truth is, you see it and it's heartbreaking. And he is heartbreaking, "said Phillips." And do you know what happens in movies when you have a world that lacks empathy and lack of love? You get the villain you deserve. "
The role that often requires actors to go in difficult places, and the Joker has the added complexity of being more realistic than most other images, even though he is still set in a fictional world. To play Arthur and the Joker, Phoenix explores a number of people he is not inclined to even
"Some of the people I studied, I feel like they cop "It's not her attention and fame," he said. "I don't feel they deserve more than that."
He also underwent a dramatic physical transformation, losing 52 pounds on an extremely restricted calorie-supervised diet. instead, he found that numbness led to a physical "fluidity" that he didn't quite expect.
The set was also quite fluid in some way, and Phoenix said. that he and Phillips are constantly discovering new elements of Wild and Arthur.
"There seemed to be an infinite number of ways to interpret it at any moment, or how it could behave at any moment. And there was nothing that made no sense. So we would do scenes in so many different ways and some would cry and others would make jokes and others would get angry and it would be the same scene and they all (explicitly) make sense, "he said.
makes the experience constantly "exciting" and "surprising," but the portrayal of Arthur / Joker also proved "messy and uncomfortable" for the 44-year-old actor.
As for whether the audience would use the character as inspiration or not or an excuse to act, Phoenix thinks the burden is on the individual.
"I think the audience bca be induced and they must be able to know the difference between right and wrong. I do not think that the responsibility of the director is to teach morality, "said Phoenix. "If you do not know the difference between right and wrong, there are all sorts of things that you will interpret in the way you want."
Both he and Phillips assert that "The Joker," who is rated R, is not children's movie.
"I just hope people see it and accept it as a movie," Phillips said. "I hope everyone loves him? No. We didn't make the movie for everyone. Every time someone tries to make a movie for everyone, it's usually for no one … You have a choice. Don't see this as the other choice. Everything is fine. “
Follow AP film writer Lindsay Bar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr