Todd Phillips, the director of Joker, took part in a Q&A session following the movie’s screening at the New York Film Festival, where he was joined by star Joaquin Phoenix, producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff, production designer Mark Freidberg and D.P. Lawrence Sher.
During their conversation, Phillips defended their creative choice to remove the "cartoon element" in how they approached violence, noting that Mean Streets, Dog Day Afternoon and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest were all movies they drew inspiration and modeled Joker after.
"That’s the surprising thing to me. I thought, isn’t that a good thing, to put real-world implications on violence?" Phillips said. "Isn’t it a good thing to take away the cartoon element about violence that we’ve become so immune to? I was a little surprised when it turns into that direction, that it’s irresponsible. Because, to me, it’s very responsible to make it feel real and make it have weight and implications."
Joker has been on the receiving end of both praise and criticism over its content. The movie received an eight-minute standing ovation during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Conversely, police in New York and other cities worldwide have been put on alert ahead of the film’s opening weekend, with many theater chains increasing security measures to ensure the safety of moviegoers.
Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais and Shea Whigham. The film arrives in theaters Oct. 4