UPDATE (October 9: 2019): In a recent episode of the comedian’s renowned podcast WTF, legendary comic Marc Maron struck back at Todd Phillips for his comments regarding the death of comedy, calling the director’s stance “tired.” Maron continued:
“There’s plenty of people being funny right now. Not only being funny but being really fucking funny. There are still lines to be rode. If you like to ride a line, you can still ride a line. If you want to take chances, you can still take chances. Really, the only thing that’s off the table, culturally, at this juncture –and not even entirely – is shamelessly punching down for the sheer joy of hurting people… As I’ve said before, it’s no excuse. If you’re too intimidated to try to do comedy that is deep or provocative, or even a little controversial, without hurting people, then you’re not good at what you do. Or maybe you’re just insensitive.”
Phillips came to fame directing comedies such as Old School and The Hangover, but his approach with his latest film on Batman’s nemesis marks a clear departure from his previous work. Explaining this, Phillips said that he decided to leave comedy because people are now too easily offended: “Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he said. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the fucking funny guys are like, ‘Fuck this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’”
Noting his inspiration for Joker, the director continued: “It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’ I’m out, and you know what? With all my comedies—I think that what comedies, in general, all have in common—is they’re irreverent. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but fuck comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from.”
ORIGINAL STORY (September 27, 2019): Shortly after Joaquin Phoenix walked out of an interview following a question about the violence controversy surrounding the Joker film. Director Todd Phillips addressed the issue in a recent interview reiterating that they “didn’t make the movie to push buttons.”
Phillips also understands the film is an easy target saying, “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.”
“I literally described to Joaquin 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’. It wasn’t, ‘We want to glorify this behavior.’ It was literally like ‘Let’s make a real movie with a real budget and we’ll call it f*cking Joker’. That’s what it was.”
In the end, the director genuinely expresses his state of confusion, “I’m surprised… Isn’t it good to have these discussions? 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?”
Head over to The Wrap to catch the interview with Joker director Todd Phillips in full.
For more entertainment news, Jonah Hill is reportedly being eyed to play the villain in Robert Pattinson’s The Batman.