Actor Joaquin Phoenix admitted he knew there would be concerns over the idea behind the new “Joker” film.
Phoenix, 44, opened up about people’s concerns that “Joker” could incite violence similar to the mass shootings happening in the United States in a piece published Tuesday by Vanity Fair.
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Joaquin Phoenix is our November cover star. At the link in bio, Hollywood’s most provocative #Joker opens up about his late brother River Phoenix, life with fiancée Rooney Mara, and the criticism surrounding his new film. Story by: Joe Hagan (@haganomics) Photographed by: @EthanJamesGreen Styled by: @Tom_Guinness
“I didn’t imagine that it would be smooth sailing,” Phoenix said of the reaction to the film. “It’s a difficult film. In some ways, it’s good that people are having a strong reaction to it.” (RELATED: ‘Joker’ Director Todd Phillips Hits Back At ‘Far Left’ Criticism Of New Movie)
Phoenix’s new comments come two weeks after the Army warned that the “Joker” could encourage incels to commit mass shootings.
The actor, however, thought it was important to portray the lead character in a way that would allow the viewer to empathize with him.
“I was going through [the script] and I realized, I said, ‘Well, why would we make something, like, where you sympathize or empathize with this villain?'” Phoenix said. “It’s like, because that’s what we have to do. It’s so easy for us to—we want the simple answers, we want to vilify people. It allows us to feel good if we can identify that as evil. ‘Well, I’m not racist ’cause I don’t have a Confederate flag or go with this protest.’ It allows us to feel that way, but that’s not healthy because we’re not really examining our inherent racism that most white people have, certainly. Or whatever it may be. Whatever issues you may have.”
“It’s too easy for us and I felt like, yeah, we should explore this villain,” he added. “This malevolent person.”