Joker Helmer Todd Phillips Says ‘Woke Culture’ Made Him Leave Comedies

Todd Phillips decided to move away from directing comedies like The Hangover to dramas like Joker out of dissatisfaction with public discourse.

While speaking to Vanity Fair, Todd Phillips explained that he feels that comedy can’t be transgressive without fear of offending people, and his comedies were, by nature, about transgressive subjects. So he went into the complete opposite direction with a project like Joker, which he noted seemed like a smart way to capitalize on the success of comic book movies while also telling a story that he was personally interested in telling.

Todd Phillips explains his reasoning below:

“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 f***ing funny guys are like, ‘F*** this s***, 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 f*** 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.”

While the position that Todd Phillips holds is likely to stir controversy, it can’t be argued that shifting over to a movie like Joker was a smart move from a business perspective. The movie has received critical acclaim with its reception from film festivals, and is currently expected to beat the October opening weekend record set by Venom last year.

Here is the official synopsis for Todd Phillips’ Joker:

Director Todd Phillips’ Joker centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.

Directed by Todd Phillips from a script he co-wrote with Scott Silver, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham. The movie is not part of the DC Extended Universe, and seems to play into Warner Bros.’s interests of making creator-driven superhero movies over necessarily building a hyper-connected shared universe… At least for the time being.

Joker will be released in theaters on October 4, 2019.

Source: Vanity Fair

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