Joaquin Phoenix reveals the reason behind avoiding press during Joker's initial release

Joaquin Phoenix feared giving oxygen to the topic of debate on mass shooting and avoided addressing it

Joker. Twitter

Ever since Warner Bros. debuted Joker at the Venice Film Festival, the movie became a concern among many who believed it could inspire copycats in real life to incite violence. A lot was said about the film even prior to its global release and it eventually led to the studio and cast members avoiding press during its nearing release but star Joaquin Phoenix explains why.

Todd Phillips' Joker movie debuted this October in theatres with divisive responses from critics and moviegoers. But nonetheless, the R-rated movie, with an earning of over $988 million in box office worldwide was still acclaimed by many and is predicted to be an Oscar contender.

Unfortunately, its success also brought along an overwhelming amount of backlash such as the Aurora shooting victims voicing their concerns. It was also reported by the FBI that the film had become a target for a possible mass shooting.

Joker poster
Joker poster IMDB

The Joker's titular star recently sat down for an interview with the Los Angeles Times (via Comicbook) to answer several questions regarding the film. Phoenix eventually addressed the controversial criticism that the movie could inspire subjects in real life to commit acts of crime.

According to Phoenix, based on his research on the topic of mass shooting- the star feared adding fuel to the topic of debate by addressing it. The actor believed talking to the media could only inspire such acts to take place.

"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,'" Phoenix explained. "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 as well as the director both strongly clarified that the movie was never meant to glorify the character's behaviour but rather connect with the audience in showing a lack of empathy. In fact, the film even shines a light on mental illness and particularly, a real-life disease known as pathological laughter. Joker is in theatres worldwide.