Joaquin Phoenix walked out of an interview when asked about ‘Joker’ inspiring incels

Joker red carpet premiere at TIFF 2019

Joaquin Phoenix does not enjoy doing press. It is known. No one can expect Joaquin to spill his guts and give some kind of in-depth interview as promotion. He’s just not that guy. But what happens when he’s the lead character and the film is “controversial” because it seems like an apologia to white male terrorists? Well, Joaquin still isn’t going to answer your questions. So it is with Joker, the “origin story” of the villain from the Batman universe. Joker has already gone through the Venice Film Festival (where it won the Golden Lion) and TIFF. The festival reviews were actually pretty good, but literally everyone writing about the movie has repeatedly pointed out the problem: that Joker seems like Incel: The Movie.

So Joaquin is the star of this film which may or may not have an extremely problematic message, a film which may or may not inspire white dudes to feel even more aggrieved about how they are misunderstood and sad that they don’t run everything, and that they too should turn to violence. Will Joaquin be able to answer questions about these difficult subjects with any kind of nuance and thoughtfulness? Or will he… walk out of an interview the first time a journalist asks him about all of that? The latter. Joaquin walked out an interview with The Telegraph the minute he was asked about whether the film could end up inspiring white-bro violence. Because the Telegraph is paywalled, here’s Gizmodo’s summary/excerpt:

Because Todd Phillips’ Joker tells the relatively grounded story of a disaffected white man who goes on a terroristic rampage because he feels as if he’s been dealt a bad hand in life, there’s been an ongoing discussion about whether the movie has the potential to inspire certain viewers to model themselves (idealistically) after the titular villain.

…While the Joker movie is meant to be a critique of people like its central character, it’s easy to see how it could also be interpreted as a celebration of them—but, apparently, that idea never quite occurred to Joaquin Phoenix or Warner Bros. During a recent interview for a profile in the Telegraph, Phoenix allegedly stopped the conversation dead in its tracks after being asked whether he’d given any thought to the possibility that audiences might take the wrong message away from the movie. Rather than stopping to mull the question over, Phoenix simply left, much in the same way he was alleged to often do while shooting the film itself. From the Telegraph:

“Yet Phoenix doesn’t seem to have considered this kind of question at all. So when I put it to him – aren’t you worried that this film might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results? – his fight-or-flight response kicks in. Mine too, just about.

It takes an hour’s peace-brokering with a Warner Bros PR to get things back on track. Phoenix panicked, he later explains, because the question genuinely hadn’t crossed his mind before – then asks me, not for the last time, what an intelligent answer might have sounded like.”

And no, Phoenix never answered the question.

[From Gizmodo]

“It takes an hour’s peace-brokering with a Warner Bros PR to get things back on track. Phoenix panicked, he later explains, because the question genuinely hadn’t crossed his mind before.” For the love of God. First off, just how f–king “difficult” is Joaquin Phoenix that he would walk out of an interview and refuse to come back for AN HOUR while the studio publicist negotiated with him and the Telegraph journalist? And all because Joaquin was asked a fairly mundane question about the film’s message? Every review coming out of Toronto and Venice brought up this idea that the film could inspire white terrorists and that it could be interpreted as an apologia to toxic white men. It was a BIG conversation. But Joaquin is like a babe in the woods – he never heard any of that, I guess. Yeah, right.

Joker red carpet premiere at TIFF 2019

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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98 Responses to “Joaquin Phoenix walked out of an interview when asked about ‘Joker’ inspiring incels”

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  1. Michael says:

    Or maybe he agrees with idea and did not know how to negotiate the question without that becoming obvious

  2. Maria says:

    He is a great actor, but he is not smart.

    • Raina says:

      Yeah I’m also thinking he’s just missing some keys on the keyboard. Which probably makes him a good actor in that he can become someone else. But ughhh I hate too much angst. Too deep.

  3. Snowslow says:

    I mean, one one hand I do think that we have a responsibility regarding the fictions we create because they shape our desires and the way we look at the world. On the other hand a film is not a documentary. Why are we saying that this inspires white terrorists rather than critiquing them? After all the Joker always looses non?

    I feel like the hyper-realism of cinema is affecting our understanding of fiction and our rationality. It’s like saying that thin models promote anorexia nervosa: when it is just the mind finding a place where to root neurosis like in the nineteenth century it was in what was called hysteria (horribly because it come from uterus in greek I think). Neurosis exists, violence exists, then it finds a voice or a place somewhere in the cultural things available. I am betting that politics and social realities are far more responsible for incels and other atrocities than mainstream films.

    • Maria says:

      When politics and social realities are reflected in mainstream films to the detriment of POC and to the glorification of sullen violent white men, that is something to consider.

    • Erinn says:

      Honestly?

      I think it’s another excuse (for the most part, at least). It’s the same as the claims of video games and music causing these guys to do what they do. But it’s not.

      It’s the fact that there’s never any consequence for angry white dudes. They can make kill lists, and nothing happens. They can beat their wives and still have access to firearms. The courts are stacked in their favor, and I truly believe that’s one of the biggest issues we have. There are SOME cases where mental health issues have run rampant, but it’s unfair to say it’s just a mental health problem to those actually suffering from mental health issues who aren’t going out and doing awful things. It’s a ‘dudes can be angry, hateful, dangerous people and nothing happens until it’s too late’ problem.

      And I’m not saying we should go out and make a movie about a shooter being a hero or something, or video games where you’re doing suuuuper depraved shit. But I think everyone is so quick to look at what they can blame where they don’t have any actual feelings of failed responsibility that movies, video games, music, etc are an easy target.

      • otaku fairy.... says:

        “It’s a ‘dudes can be angry, hateful, dangerous people and nothing happens until it’s too late’ problem.” So much this. They’re given so much cultural validation and space to be angry about these things to, to the point where people who don’t check off the same boxes as these bros and/or won’t defend them or hide are seen as the problem. It’s a cycle of entitlement.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Well said, Erinn.

        Honestly, pop culture is more responsive to social justice than the court or legal system, so that is the only place where many people feel they have an impact and can make change.

        This movie synopsis reminds me of Taxi Driver. The audience has changed, even if the story line hasn’t.

      • Marigold says:

        Quote: “It’s a ‘dudes can be angry, hateful, dangerous people and nothing happens until it’s too late’ problem.”

        This. Every time a violent man does violence and it gets news coverage, I turn to whoever is with me and say, “There is no way that nobody knew this guy was shady and scary. They just never said anything.”

        Part of it is that we see/experience someone who makes us uncomfortable and just distance ourselves. Part of it is the being bred and raised to value politeness…so we way nothing. Don’t rock the boat. The men and women who work around, live around, and socialize around all of these perpetrators–someone knew there was a problem and just never did or said anything about it.

        Then, when the guy goes off and kills people, everyone says, “Oh, we had no idea. He was so quiet. He was so normal.”

        No. He wasn’t quiet. He wasn’t normal. And you knew he was creepy; that’s why your radar went off and you never did more than wave at him from across the street. Because he set off your prey instinct response, and you knew it. But it’s always too late when the stuff about his lifetime of garbage is finally brought out.

        This being polite thing has gone too far.

    • SM says:

      I agree. There should be an understanding that art is a medium that is not necessarily there to educate, to seek justice, or to moralise. It is not supposed to do those things because it possesses the freedom to make fictional stories to reflect on reality. And in a way making us feel uncomfortable with it. How many people here know that the first Holocaust feature film was made only two years after the fact? Involved real people and actual concentration camps made by one of the survivors. While I feel rather uncomfortable with that and would question this decission, it sort of helped to preserve the piece of reality though fictional storytelling. Was that thoughtless and insinsitive? Probably. But it involved people who wanted to preserve what the entire world until this day is uncomfortable facing. And in a way this is what art is for. Needless to say those were different times, it probably wouldn’t be possible today with the current understanding of mental health and trauma.
      I also find it rather puzzling when people switch with such ease to arguments about real problems, what does that mean that the problem is that white male are never punished? It is a problem for judicial system, criminal system and political will. Movies can not achieve that. Done properly the art can help shift the culture and one day lead to political change.
      Yet the problem with Phoenix as well as with Russell Crowe who also walked out of the interview when confronted with commentary that he was playing a bad guy is that some actors seem just as unwilling to separate life from fiction. It seems like pointing out that there are evil and bad guys in film and they play one is somehow an insult to them. They should take a cue from Jamie Bell who actually did talk at length about playing a character you feel and should feel zero empathy towards.

      • tealily says:

        I love this comment. I feel like we’re living in a culture that interprets showing something as endorsing something. I remember years ago when American Beauty came out, I talked to my aunt about it and she said that she hated it because it endorsed lusting after teenagers. I just couldn’t believe that that was her takeaway from that movie. Good art can confront bad things, show them to you, and make you see them in a new way. But that only works if the viewer is willing to put in the work and THINK about what they are thinking and feeling. I feel like this is a symptom of the continued undervaluing of the arts and humanities, and our society is truly suffering for it.

        I haven’t seen this movie yet so I can’t speak to what its message is, but it’s hard to understand why Phoenix, supposedly a master of his craft, didn’t choose to delve into any of his thoughts about his character or motivation. Presumably he’s thought about it.

      • GreenTurtle says:

        @SM, this is what I came to say, and now I don’t need to, because you said it very eloquently.

    • Veronica S says:

      Degree of influence is the issue. Fundamentally, fiction does not produce reality, but the studies abound that show mass media does have a critical impact on social ideology and mores. If it didn’t, propaganda wouldn’t be such an effective tool. A Hollywood movie with a huge budget and wide reach has more responsibility in terms of what message it’s putting out than an art house film of limited release.

      I’ll be the last person to argue for censoring art, but Hollywood is hardly a creative machine at this point. The intent is profit for the most part. And even if we judge it from the perspective of art, that doesn’t strip it of the responsibility to interrogation. Art is meaningless if it doesn’t have to answer to questions about its intent and influence. You can make your Joker film but don’t pretend it exists in a vacuum.

    • Algernon says:

      “After all the Joker always looses non?”

      The issue is that this time the Joker wins. As much as they’re trying to say this movie doesn’t celebrate toxic male violence, it is about a toxic male who incites violence and is celebrated for it. There is no “hero” standing up to him, no moral counterpoint. Movies don’t cause violence, but it’s worth thinking about what this story will mean, told this way, to this audience, in this time. Movies don’t cause violence, but they are not without meaning.

  4. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    If people find themselves agreeing with an obvious psychpath, then they should be locked in the asylum as well.
    It’s that simple.

    • Sof says:

      It’s not that easy, in order to get them “locked in the asylum” someone has to notice their behaviour.

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        True.

        But at least we can filter people we meet.
        “Do you think Joker was in the right?” “I suppose so.” “Get the F away from me.”

      • Christina says:

        Pointing out the psychopath doesn’t always work. This is a “man” paternalism problem.

        My lovely ex, who almost killed my kid, was taken out of federal prison and placed in a halfway house near me, AND THEY DIDN’T TELL US UNTIL I COMPLAINED THAT HE IS CONTACTING US AGAIN. I found out YESTERDAY. Coincidentally, they ended up picking him up yesterday for not being able to account for his time away from the halfway house. He was in prison for a federal finance charge, but they know he knocked our child unconscious and tortured her for years. We have an 80-year DVRO. We were told that we’d be notified and that they will keep tabs on him for our safety, BUT THE SYSTEM FAILED US AGAIN. They took him into custody yesterday for violating the halfway house rules. He MIGHT be sent back to the federal prison, but he might not be. Now they have the additional evidence that he continues his campaign of gaslighting and terror, but they can’t put him away unless he hits my kid again or assaults me or my husband. His letters to our kid focus on me.

        The system doesn’t care about women. Period. We warn, and no one gives a fuck until we are killed in the murder-suicide on the 5 o’clock news.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Christina, my heart goes out to you and your family. What a terrifying position to be in. I wish you all of the best and hope your concerns are given the attention they deserve.

      • Christina says:

        @Tiffany, thank you for your kindness. The support is appreciated so much. Law enforcement has sent it to the DA and issued their own warrant. The feds have him, so I am hoping that the charges stick. They usually don’t in criminal. Women are forced to fight in Civil, we have to pay for it out-of-pocket, and it doesn’t always work out when kids are involved. The DA has never prosecuted him for criminal actions. They never have enough evidence. Resources are so low that they don’t prosecute unless there is an immediate assault. When he attacked our kid, she didn’t tell anyone but her school, and they are mandated reporters. The county left her there; he knows everybody in our area because his dad is a retired Judge, won i think that he called someone he knows at the County to tell them that they lied about him. The county didn’t believe her. She was 11. She’s 18 now and in college. We are fine, but it would be nice if this ended.

        He’s was declared a vexatious litigant in California last year because he kept coming after me in court. He writes in obsessed ways about me in letters to our daughter, but the justice system needs to better understand sociopathy and male anger.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “the justice system needs to better understand sociopathy and male anger.”

        Yes!!!! I agree so much.

  5. Sean says:

    Still waiting to see if this will be anything more than just “The King of Comedy featuring The Joker”

    • Eliza says:

      The reviews indicate a very heavy leaning on TKOC, but without clearly making the scenes POV from the character and not an unbiased audience. So people were defending it saying the overreaction of him being told not to play with children as “woo is me” is like TKOC but the director failed to you know actually show the warped POV, so plays into that toxic “nice guy” narrative. So unless you’ve seen TKOC you’d not know? Idk, that’s what I read though, could be different.

  6. Diana says:

    I find him so physically attractive.

  7. deezee says:

    While filming, he was probably too “engrossed in the process” to consider its parger ramifications. After the fact, I think, like many celebs, he is sheltered from the real world and quite possibly didn’t hear the criticisms coming out of the festivals.
    Still I find it so disappointing it is that people in Hollywood are so easy to forgive and forget when male actors are so clearly difficult to deal with. But if there is even a rumour that a female actor has an attitude, the roles start to dry up.

    • Bex says:

      There was a very recent interview with Joker’s director where he said that Phoenix would stalk off set in the middle of a take without warning if he wasn’t happy because he had his own process or whatever and whoever his scene partner was would invariably think it was their fault. It was noted that he never did it to Robert De Niro though. Funny that. That soundbite didn’t get spread too widely whereas you know it would’ve gone viral had it been about some ‘diva’ actress.

    • otaku fairy.... says:

      Or even if work doesn’t just dry up, she’s forever tainted by it, it’s catastrophized to the point where every negative is labelled ‘the real her’ and justifies other people’s problematic behavior while every positive is dismissed as her being selfish & fake. This would have been a lot more controversial and troll-filled if it had been an actress or other female public figure people wanted taken down a peg. It must be nice to be a guy and be more than your failings to both sexes.

  8. One of the few actors that weird me out to the point I have no desire to see his work.
    I get a visceral reaction to him that is unsettling.

  9. Jerusha says:

    They had to know when they hired him that he’d be a nightmare when it came to pr. He’s not one to toss off canned answers.
    I doubt I’ll see Joker. I still think one of his best performances was in Parenthood.

    • deezee says:

      Haha true. I was going to write that the last time I liked him, he was Leaf. Parenthood was good.

    • line says:

      Sincerely, I thought he had read the screenplay but he did not see anything of negative on this because it is a wealthy white who had a chance to have a privileged who protect her to all this problems.

  10. Lucy2 says:

    How hard was it to say “I certainly hope not”?

  11. Annie says:

    He should start thinking about his answers because the film will absolutely inspire more white terrorism and toxic masculinity, victimization, etc. We had the shooter in Aurora who wanted to be like Heath Ledger’s Joker, and that Joker didn’t even have the whole modern incel mentality. That Joker did things just to creat chaos. Imagine a Joker who absolutely acts like a victim and sounds just like the creeps on alt-right forums. New poster boy. Whether Joaquin likes it or not, he needs to prepare his answers. There’s already one terrorist inspired by the Joker. It can happen again.

    Art wise the movie looks good and Joaquin is a great actor. But he’s not smart. Now imagine if it was JLo walking out of an interview and the PR team taking an hour to negotiate the completion of the interview. Male actors have always been the real impossible divas. How embarrassing.

    • Christina says:

      He’s an “artiste”. He doesn’t want us to “know” him so that he can embody those roles. What he needs to do to curb the bad press is play up his Mexican Heritage. He’s half-Mexican and grew up in Mexico City. He’s white looking, like me, but it would mark him as “tainted” to the incels who are racists.

      • Bob says:

        according to Wikipedia his dad is of English/German/French ancestry and his mother is Jewish Hungarian/Russian

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaquin_Phoenix

      • whatWHAT? says:

        “He’s half-Mexican and grew up in Mexico City. ”

        will you stop with this claim? he isn’t half-Mexican, and he’s not even of Mexican descent.

      • Christina says:

        Thanks, Bob.

        My apologies for not knowing his blood. I do know that he spent a significant amount of his upbringing in Mexico, and he is cultured Mexican. He and River, his brother, were idols who my friends and I followed, especially after finding out that they grew up in Mexico. It is my opinion that he needs to own and discuss it and his place in the world. He doesn’t HAVE TO, but he should talk about how he is playing g a character with the intention of calling out people who are intolerant, and explain that he isn’t attempting to create sympathy for sick, intolerant people. He grew up in diversity. Why not discuss it?

      • whatWHAT? says:

        they didn’t even “grow up in Mexico”. nor was he there for a “significant amount of his upbringing”.

        the only time Phoenix spent in Mexico was travelling with his father, for a few years, after he had been a child actor and before he went back to acting as an adult.

  12. Lady says:

    This ones going to be a hard pass for me. The backstory of Thor starring two hours of Chris Hemsworth is the only story I really need to know.

  13. jenner says:

    Holy crap, talk about living in an insulated hollywood bubble. You’re starring in movies that are seen around the world, and you don’t stop and look at the message you are putting out? This is celebrity narcissism at its highest.

    • Harrietthesaviour says:

      What about when the Harley Quinn film comes out? Should we grill margot robbie about making a light-hearted movie about a serial killing white woman?

      • Chaine says:

        Yes. IMO too much of the big-budget films put out are exploitative garbage that appeals to and inspires the absolute crud of humanity. Why not call the “artists” out on it?

      • WTF says:

        One big difference is that the ‘serial killing white woman’ isn’t a reality. There are so few female serial killers that it is shocking when it happens. There are plenty of incels though.

      • jenner says:

        Sure, except this is a post on The Joker and Phoenix. Do you also want to bring up Duchess Meghan and racism, while you’re at it?

      • whatWHAT? says:

        Harriet, have you read the plot summary of the new Harley Quinn movie?

        because it doesn’t sound very “light-hearted” to me. she leaves the Joker (and his influence, and his abuse) and joins with a couple of female superheroes to save a young girl from a crime lord.

        however, if the reporter was to ask a question (Phoenix wasn’t “grilled”) about women who leave abusive men and turn over a new leaf to help other women, I think Robbie would answer. she’s not a d-bag like Phoenix is.

  14. Megs says:

    He doesn’t have to like doing press, it’s still part of the job he gets paid ridiculously well to do. I don’t like all aspects of my job but that is why it’s called a job- and I do it with a respectful and professional attitude. Either suck it up or go to local plays where you don’t have to do press tours. I’m so over these grown (mostly) men acting like toddlers and expecting everyone else to roll with it. Either choose to do all of your job or let someone else do it, and yes, there are plenty of great actors out there who can also manage to conduct interviews in a professional manner.

  15. TheOriginalMia says:

    Better get used to answering these questions since this film is the battle cry of incels. They are rejoicing in it in the same way African Americans celebrated Black Panther. They feel seen by this movie and thus as we move closer to the premiere, they are going to show us how proud they are of it. I have no desire to see a film celebrating the Joker. His backstory is just not that interesting to me. He’s a psycho. End of story.

  16. chitowngal says:

    He strikes me as a man who is incredibly sheltered, doesn’t have as much life experience and is used to people enabling and making excuses for him, so he doesn’t have to get any. He’s 40+ and still thinks that if he gets questions he doesn’t like or know how to answer, he can just leave? The Telegraph shouldn’t have bothered…

  17. Marianne says:

    I get being annoyed by those kind of questions though. Ever since columbine theres always been this idea that violent video games/movies/metal music etc cause people to become violent and that simply isnt the case. Plenty of people enjoy those types of things and dont turn violent. If someone is going to do something violent then they are already had that in them.

    • Jules says:

      “Enjoying” violence certainly messes with one’s mind. We are an angry society, an angry world, and inflict our anger and violence on each other. Through mass violence, through our thoughts and words. We need to grow up and evolve….enjoying violence is the laziest thing we can do.

    • Turtledove says:

      I do too, Marianne. Too much pointing of fingers. People have been making up new and ever more depraved ways of hurting other people for as long as we have been on earth.

      Also- why is this Joachin’s question to answer? He didn’t write or produce the film. I mean, I do agree that it is insane that he didn’t see that question coming, fair enough. But he is JUST an actor. And sorry, but like it it not, it was a juicy role. He took it and from all accounts, acted well. (unprofessional behaviour on set notwithstanding)

      So much ugliness is put out into the world via film….I don’t always like it, but I am not for censorship either, so…here we are.

    • jenner says:

      It’s called taking responsibility. Or we can all just sit back the same way we are watching the Amazon burn and do nothing about it. Because it’s not our problem, it’s someone else’s.

    • Joanna says:

      +10000000. But oddly, it’s not mentioned when discussing Chicago violence. *sarcasm*

  18. DahliaDee says:

    Of course he did.
    Another overrated middle-aged white dude. Yawn.

    • Christina says:

      He’s Mexican. He just plays a white dude in real life, lol.

      I used to love him. Now I think he’s a pompous ass…

      • whatWHAT? says:

        Christina, I can’t tell if your post is sarcasm or not, but…just in case it isn’t…

        Phoenix is not Mexican. he’s American, are both of his parents.

  19. Maggie says:

    If you want this theme done right, and a film that doesn’t need to fall back on a fictitious villain from comic books, revisit FALLING DOWN with Michael Douglas. Its an allegorical take on white male frailty and loss of control. Its an amazing film. I think you can do a film about the psyche of a terrorist, but using a Batman character just seems to make it satirical rather than focused. I have not seen this film, but I probably will. He’s a great actor. But I don’t think it should be the posterchild for anything to analyze on this subject.

    • Godwina says:

      Interestingly, Falling Down received a lot of the same kind of pearl-clutching as Joker is. There are myriad reviewers and critics who DON’T think it does what it does well, and have outright condemned it for encouraging toxic masculine violence. I remember the outcry when it screened and there are still condemning retrospectives about it to this day. So, it occupies the same “representation vs condoning” movies as Joker, American Psycho, American History X, etc. Whether we believe those critics misread narrative or not is immaterial; the reputation stands.

      Whether representing violence leads to violence is a question I sit out; research is still mostly contradictory/inconclusive. We know some films or songs inspire one or two awful violent acts. We also know most people aren’t influenced. Both things can be true.

      Joker honestly looks exhausting. I’ll just watch Falling Down and A Clockwork Orange again, probably. JP isn’t my jam (though I loved Mother!).

  20. Lala11_7 says:

    That’s…A LOT…to put on someone…and I’m not going to trip on Joaquin’s response….because the truth of the matter is…movies are a reflection of society…they always have been….and always will be…and maybe he was in shock…that someone ACTUALLY stated the obvious…which is something that folks have PROBABLY not been doing in his circle…

    He better get acclimated REAL QUICK…or this is going to be UGLY!

    • Christina says:

      Lala, it is a lot, but he’s a Mexican living in the states. He should know better. He needs to take some responsibility and get acclimated yesterday.

      • Lala11_7 says:

        I don’t think he’s not acclimated…I think that he’s insulated…I KNOW he knows the climate that’s out there…but because he’s able to EXIST within a level of control that you and I probably will NEVA even imagine (thanks to the studio system and ALL of its…accouterments…LOL!!!) He can protect himself from those outward things that makes one uncomfortable…

        Though…I will say this…his PR team are HACKS! They should have not only prepared him for this obvious question…but he should have coached Phoenix where he would have bought up the elephant in the room and controlled the narrative himself….He’s a one of the finest actors of his generation for PETE’S SAKE…why wouldn’t his team USE THAT ABILITY?!?!

      • Chaine says:

        Christina why do you keep posting that he is Mexican? Just curious as I had never heard this and Wikipedia says he was born in Puerto Rico and that his parents are European ancestry.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        ok, so you weren’t being sarcastic above.

        he isn’t Mexican. he isn’t even of Mexican descent. he was born in PR (and though our current “president” may think otherwise, PR is, in fact, part of the US) and both his parents were born in the US, and both are of Euro descent.

      • Christina says:

        I keep posting it because I grew up in Los Ángeles. We are close in age, and he and River were raised in Mexico and spoke Spanish, and it was generally discussed that the family was half Mexican. And he may not be by blood, but he was raised there. Apparently, his dad lives in Costa Rica now. But I think that he should play that up, and share that he cares about diversity and doesn’t want to inspire hate and violence because if his upbringing.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        “he and River were raised in Mexico”

        no, they weren’t. he spent a few years travelling around Mexico with his father, after several years as a child actor in Los Angeles.

        the family spent time in South America, too, as members of a cult. left the cult, moved to LA, kids got “discovered”…THEN Joaquin when to Mexico for a few years.

  21. Jb says:

    Deep thinker but not that deep apparently…dude was just thinking about the awards and accolades. Hard pass on watching how hard it is for a white male in society

  22. Cate says:

    For these kinds of interviews, can the actor/studio not arrange to get a list of proposed questions in advance? Seems SOMEONE at the studio (if not Phoenix) should have anticipated this as a possibility and asked for some idea of what the questions asked might be, and then worked with Phoenix to prep some answers.

    I do notice (according to wikipedia) that there’s a fairly long period (2005-2016) where Phoenix doesn’t have any serious relationships mentioned. Obviously one does not HAVE to be partnered up at all times and maybe he was focusing on other stuff, but one does wonder if he had an “incel” period of his own there and if that has colored his views/made him more sympathetic to characters like the Joker.

  23. DaisySharp says:

    Weren’t he and Scarjo dating for a while? Why did they not marry? This is a match.

  24. MrsPanda says:

    Isn’t he BFF’s with Casey Affleck? They did that movie together when they punked everyone & Joaquin did that stupid interview on Letterman ”in character”. He’s super Hollywood. I think Joaquin had thought about the question and he probably agrees with the premise – he just had a hissy fit for being put on the spot. The trailer looks amazing though, and you can see the arc of Joker very clearly. From downtrodden, mentally ill, institutionalised and rejected outcast – to someone who is finally ”seen” and the power that comes from that. It’s very moving in the trailer. Usually I roll my eyes at the ”violence coming from music/video games” tropes, but as I watched the trailer, I could feel the surge of power he felt, the confidence he was feeling, his change in body language as he becomes The Joker. Hopefully the movie itself shows us more about his evils, and how he ultimately loses, but from the trailer alone I could see how it really could inspire incel-types.

    • Marianne says:

      Well they did used to be brother in laws. So they were close because they were family. No idea how he feels about Casey today…

    • whatWHAT? says:

      correction, they TRIED to punk everyone, but no one bought it.

      esp after the “during the commercial” part of that Letterman interview leaked. he was not “in character” and was behaving quite “normally” (I know that’s a relative term).

  25. DiegoInSF says:

    I find him disturbing, remember that mockumentary where he became a rapper and there was some really weird stuff going on. If an actress had walked out of an interview, she’d be labeled a diva.

  26. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    I don’t know. Knowing that he left because he didn’t know how to answer the question is actually kind of funny. Like high school comedies where a person runs screaming from an exam.

  27. kerwood says:

    Every few years there’s another movie about a White man who goes crazy and kills a bunch of people a)because the pretty girl won’t date him; b) because of his parents; c)because his dog/cat/gerbil dies d)because some person of colour was mean to him or d)just because. I don’t need to see this one.

    I find all this talk about Phoenix being one of the best actors of his generation amazing. He’s good at playing freaks but I’ve never seen him play an ordinary guy. Good acting isn’t just losing/gaining a ton of weight and screaming at the top of your lungs. De Niro’s played ordinary guys and so has Daniel Day Lewis. Phoenix is just a very troubled man who is good at playing very troubled men.

  28. Marisse says:

    Imagine being so fragile and nonthinking that you’d WALK out of an interview and not come back for an hour. But hey, white dudes gonna white dude! These guys are overly sensitive divas w/egos. Meanwhile women & PoC would have their careers over if they pulled the stuff these giant manbabies pull. Honestly, even something LITTLE could end your career if a woman/PoC. We’re not allowed to fail in this industry unlike the men that can have bomb after bomb and still get funding/distribution like *snap* that.

    What a joke. Hollywood is full of so many weak men. I don’t really care Joaquin is considered a good actor. That movie he did w.Casey Affleck – the one where Affleck sexually harassed/assaulted two women working on the film, and whose careers never recovered…ugh

    If Joaquin wins the Oscar next year, he can have Rami Malek give him the award. Remember him? you know, the actor void of integrity who tapdanced around the truth and sold his soul to win his beloved Oscar? Cut from the same cloth, these guys are.

    • jenner says:

      The hating on all white dudes is getting old, fast. Can we try to understand that when we say “all” about one race, we are not being tolerant?

  29. Texas says:

    These things don’t CAUSE the violence, but it doesn’t help with those who are predisposed.

  30. Sorella says:

    imagine if a regular person walked out on a meeting or something that is, you know… part of their JOB!! How insulated is he that he had no clue that was the conversation happening lately and freaked out (he must live in a bubble). And it took 1 hour to talk him into going back. Like a 4 year old he had to be coaxed?!?!? Honestly, some of these people (who essentially play make-believe for a living and are WELL PAID for it!) are so unprofessional and full of ego. I am a fan of his acting (not him as person really, he is odd), but not so much right now for his acting either – ridiculous and unprofessional behavior. Now I hope he doesn’t get an Oscar nod after all.

  31. Lindy says:

    First: doing press is a huge part of his job. No one likes every aspect of their job but most of us are conscientious enough to perform up to expectations anyhow. Do your damn job, a$$hole.

    Second: the whole premise of this movie feels like a giant love letter to angry MRA red pill types who have been increasingly emboldened in the years following 2016. It’s like all those endless think-pieces after the election about trying to understand the white lower-class rage and taking it seriously and empathize. Meanwhile women and marginalized groups are living in constant fear and exhaustion and let’s just be honest, white male rage is about not ever wanting to give one atom of autonomy or ownership to people of color or women. It’s not complex.

    Third: saying that this is merely representing someone of the incel persuasion and then half-heartedly condemning the behavior after over an hour of celebratory anti-hero excitement is… not helping anyone. Hard pass on this movie and on anything this privileged jerk ever does.

    Even if it’s true that movies and games don’t directly inspire copycat behavior (something that isn’t conclusively true), does the world need yet another movie with a loathsome and hateful white male worldview on display? What is this piece of “art” doing? If I want to see this, all I have to do is walk down the street where I can easily get catcalled and then screamed at and threatened when I flip the dude off. Or, you know, look at 45′s Twitter account.

  32. Izzy says:

    He sounds exhausting.

  33. MsGnomer says:

    Phoenix played Christ in “Mary Magdalene.” Of course that film never saw the light of day because it rewrites the role of women in the Christian church. Worth a viewing, even if you cant stomach Phoenix or Mara, who plays Mary Magdalene.

  34. M4A says:

    There’s a million movies with toxic men doing toxic shit. But this is the one that”s going to push incells over the edge? Yeah, right. The broader question is what impact does a constant diet of violent and toxic media have on people’s mental health? I used to find it interesting when I was younger. Now it just seems pointless and sick.