Joaquin Phoenix is on a promotional tour ahead of the premiere of Joker, in which he delivers a performance that’s already generating Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Batman’s most iconic nemesis.
Phoenix has answered plenty of questions about the gritty origin story of the comic-book super-villain, but one question reportedly proved so disturbing to the actor that it led him to walk out of an interview.
According to Robbie Collin, a film critic, he asked Phoenix if he had any concerns that the film “might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results?” Reportedly, Phoenix was so taken aback by the question that he got up and immediately bolted, muttering, “Why would you..?” before walking out of the door.
Phoenix eventually returned an hour later after consulting with a Warner Bros. publicist, described by Collin as “peace-brokering with a Warner Bros. PR to get things back on track.” Phoenix explained his hasty retreat from the interview by insisting that question hadn’t crossed his mind, asking Collin what he thought an intelligent answer to that question would sound like.
Todd Phillips’ Joker also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Shea Whigham, Frances Conroy, Bill Camp, Brian Tyree Henry, and Glenn Fleshler. The film is scheduled for release on October 4.