‘Joker’ Director Todd Phillips Defends Film Against Controversy Over Violent Themes

The director of “Joker” is surprised at all the controversy surrounding the movie.

In a new interview with The Wrap, Todd Phillips discussed his intention behind the film and its depiction of the iconic villain.

RELATED: ‘Joker’ Star Joaquin Phoenix Walks Out Of Interview Over Controversial Question

“I literally described to [star Joaquin Phoenix] at one point in those three months as like, ‘Look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film,'” he explained. “It wasn’t, ‘We want to glorify this behaviour.’ It was literally like ‘Let’s make a real movie with a real budget and we’ll call it fucking ‘Joker’.’ That’s what it was.”

The film has garnered plenty of controversy ahead of its release, with many worried its portrayal of the Joker could inspire violence.

“I’m surprised,” Phillips said. “Isn’t it good to have these discussions about these movies, about violence? Why is that a bad thing if the movie does lead to a discourse about it?”

The director added that he suspects the film has simply become a target for people waiting to jump.

“I think it’s because outrage is a commodity, I think it’s something that has been a commodity for a while,” he said. “What’s outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It’s really been eye opening for me.”

RELATED: Aurora Shooting Victims Speak Out On ‘Joker’ Release

Earlier this week, victims of the 2012 mass shooting at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Col. expressed their concerns over “Joker”, calling on Warner Bros. to help support anti-gun legislation and other causes.

“Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic,” the studio said in a statement.

“At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues,” the statement continued. “Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”

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