No Joking Matter: Phoenix Walks Out of Interview Over Question on Violence

No Joking Matter: Phoenix Walks Out of Interview Over Question on Violence

In today’s world of hypersensitivity, hurt feelers, and errant offenses, people are liable to be confronted by some walking open wound who takes an innocent comment or a note of snark not even hurled in that person’s direction a little too salty.

PHOTO: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

You may have met one today at work. When you have a job like Joaquin Phoenix, you may meet those abrasive human lacerations more than most. There is always someone in entertainment trying to make a career on the coattails of someone in the public eye.

Such has been life for Phoenix in the past, so he attempted to go full incognito — even changing careers to a brief respite in rap music that he says “resurrected his career” (remember that one).

Even though he’s back in movies (arguably better than ever before) and currently doing press junkets for what some people will be the role of a lifetime in Todd Phillips’ Joker, he surely knows bear-trap moments abound.

Meet Robbie Collin, film critic for UK publication The Telegraph. 

Conversely from what some blossoming journalists attempt to do by throwing pipe bombs into an interview setting, Collin truly knows his craft and most of his reviews are free of personal mission or blatant subjectivity and motive. For those who may not be familiar with his fine work, you may not know that based on his recent run-in with the man who would be Arthur Fleck.

And That’s Why I’m Out


It’s no longer news that Todd Phillips made a personal psychosis into the Joker’s typical plight into madness becoming the master villain. For the past 70 years, we have seen the diverse versions — from Jack plunging face first into a vat of acid to Ledger finding strength in the scars his father gave him — of how the ‘Joker’ became the Clown Prince of Crime plaguing Gotham for decades.

What will unveil nationwide on October 4 will be a marvel to many nerds because this will be very little CBM, very much a movie, a story, a fateful tale of woe. One that some may find a touch too real.

Possibly even Collin.

There he is, asking Phoenix on the origin of Arthur, what it was like portraying such an iconic character, acting with Robert DeNiro, and that sinister and much ballyhooed cackle. It’s understood this movie was largely untapped potential in the character and undiscovered pathos in what DC Comics could have done.

Suddenly, the interview got real when Collin asked whether he worries the new film “might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results.

Yeah…sigh…he went there.

To wit, Phoenix stammered the following: “Why? Why would you … ? No, no.” And then, without flinching (anymore), he got up and split. Now, because Collin is Robbie Collin, Phoenix must have been begged by a PR person of some note to return. He did, an hour later.

When he asked why he left by Collin, Phoenix shared he hadn’t yet considered the question. Nonetheless, the answer to the original question was never answered. Yet, Collin writes of the harrowing villain-to-be, “[Fleck] could easily be the latest online message-board extremist to take his grievances murderously viral.”

Again…he went there too.

Life Imitates Art

put on a happy face

Regretfully and tragically, as convincing and compelling as fake movies are, many people are mindless drones who allow inspiration to strike in some morbid settings — one of which Collin may have been considering when he asked that question. He had a serious reason to ask that question.

Anyone recall Aurora, Colorado?

james holmes
SOURCE: CBS/Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

It was 2012. The summer blockbuster was The Dark Knight Rises. That fateful evening, a dozen fans of the movie were killed and 70 others made victims of the stark ravings of a true-to-life mad man named James Holmes.

With orange-dyed hair and screaming voices in his head, he walked into the theater and shot innocent people. Meanwhile, he wanted to be known as “The Joker.” Today, he’s in prison for the rest of life without parole.

And while no one on this planet gives two turds about what happens to that waste of space in prison, it’s what he did to get there that may have a few of us wondering if the amazing, God-given talent of those in Hollywood really does influence the sardonic and nefarious acts of others.

The movie portrays somehow the missives and musings of one twisted and dark soul can become the malevolent movements of others. For every “Joker,” it could be argued there is a Charles Manson, a Jim Jones, or even a James Holmes.

Hopefully, we can all enjoy the greatness we are about to see without someone taking it too far or asking one question too many.



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