Joker director Todd Phillips has revealed how “woke culture” directly led to his upcoming take on the Clown Prince of Crime. Phillips had a substantial resume as a comedy director, with the likes of The Hangover trilogy and Old School, prior to turning his sights toward the upcoming Joker.
So far, the lead up to the release of Joker has seen Warner Bros. make a public statement in defense of the film, as well as Phillips lament that the negative press directed at the film isn’t fair. With only days left before the Joker’s official release, Phillips is back in the news once more, this time to tell Vanity Fair that the film is his own personal attempt to hit back at the woke culture he claims has ruined comedy. Explaining that he didn’t feel that comedies worked anymore, Phillips said:
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture. 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.’ 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.”
Despite initially positive reviews following the movie’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Joker has proven controversial, with many wondering about the potential real world impact of the movie and its portrayal of violence. In September, a question about whether Joker might inspire violence led to Phoenix walking out of an interview. Still, despite the controversy, Joker is tracking to be a major box office success.
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.