Joaquin Phoenix defends 'Joker' as families of shooting victims voice concern over film

Joaquin Phoenix broke his silence over the ongoing controversy surrounding his upcoming film 'Joker' saying that viewers are able to differentiate between right and wrong and it's not for a filmmaker to teach 'morality' to the audience.

The actor, who is the latest to portray the titular villain in Todd Phillip's directorial, which is being hailed beautiful for its artistry and termed as dangerous for its depiction of the main character, has full trust in the viewers to know what's right and wrong ahead of the film's release, reported People.

"Well, I think that, for most of us, you are able to tell the difference between right and wrong," he said at a press conference for Joker, according to IGN, as cited by People.

He also went on to say that it's not the responsibility of a filmmaker to teach the audience "morality" or the difference between what's right or wrong.

"And those that aren't are capable of interpreting anything in the way that they may want to. People misinterpret lyrics from songs. They misinterpret passages from books. So I don't think it's the responsibility of a filmmaker to teach the audience morality or the difference between right or wrong. I mean, to me, I think that's obvious," Phoenix said.

The upcoming film is making some families of Aurora shooting victims uncomfortable. Family members of those killed in the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting during a screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises' in 2012 have sent Warner Bros. a letter voicing their concerns about the movie.

"We are calling on you to be a part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe," the letter read.

Although the group is not proposing pulling the movie's release, they are asking the studio behind the film to "use your political clout and leverage in Congress to actively lobby for gun reform. Keeping everyone safe should be a top corporate priority for Warner Brothers." While promoting 'Joker', Phoenix recently walked out of an interview after a reporter asked him if he was worried the movie might "perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it's about, with potentially tragic results." "Why? Why would you...? No, no," Phoenix said before leaving the room.

The film is getting early Oscar buzz after winning the Golden Lion, the Venice International Film Festival's top award. Earlier this month, 'Joker' received an eight-minute standing ovation at its Venice Film Festival premiere for the origin story that the makers mapped out for Batman's arch-villain - Joker.

The upcoming flick is a part of the DC Comics universe but will serve as an independent origin story and will not feature any appearances by Batman and other caped crusaders.

Apart from Phoenix, the movie also features Robert De Niro, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham. It is slated to hit the theatres on October 4.

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