The upcoming release of “Joker” is bringing back painful memories for victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting.
This week, family members of those killed in the mass shooting at a July 20, 2012, screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” penned a letter to Warner Bros. expressing their concerns about the new film.
“We are calling on you to be a part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe,” the letter reads, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Deadline also reports that “Joker” will not be screening at the theatre in Aurora where the shooting took place.
In an interview with THR, Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was among those killed, said, “I don’t need to see a picture of [Holmes]; I just need to see a ‘Joker’ promo and I see a picture of the killer.”
Phillips said the film, which centres on Batman’s infamous arch-nemesis, is “like a slap in the face,” and adds that she worries people might emulate the villain’s behaviour.
“My worry is that one person who may be out there — and who knows if it is just one — who is on the edge, who is wanting to be a mass shooter, may be encouraged by this movie. And that terrifies me,” she said.
The letter from the family members also calls on Warner Bros. to act in favour of gun control, saying that the studio should “end political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform” and “use your political clout and leverage in Congress to actively lobby for gun reform.”
Pierce O’Farrill, a survivor of the shooting, said that he supports calling on Warner Bros. to donate to related causes but when it comes to “Joker” he admitted, “I do want to see it. I think it looks interesting. I don’t know that I’ll see it in the theatre but I’ll definitely see the film.
“If people were trying to shut down the film, I would have a strong opinion against that because I am kind of an old-school constitutionalist. I think Warner Bros. has the right to make any kind of film they want.”
The Aurora shooting claimed the lives of 12 people, injuring 70 more.
“Joker” arrives in theatres Oct. 4.