Joaquin Phoenix is on a promotional blitz 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.
In a piece from Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin, he recounts sitting down with the 44-year-old actor to discuss his latest role.
According to Collin, 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?”
Phoenix, wrote Collin, 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.
Interestingly enough, “Joker” director Todd Phillips has recounted that Phoenix reacted similarly on the set of the film when he felt he wasn’t delivering the performance he was aiming for.
“In the middle of the scene, he’ll just walk away and walk out,” Phillips said in an interview with the New York Times. “And the poor other actor thinks it’s them and it was never them — it was always him, and he just wasn’t feeling it.”
“Joker” made its premiere at the Venice Film Festival before screening at the Toronto International Film Festival; the anticipated new film is slated to hit theatres on Friday, Oct. 4.