Director, writer, and producer Todd Phillips made quite a stir upon the release of Joker, the film which, despite being labeled a comic book movie by fans, stood out from the rest and even became the highest-grossing R-rated movie. Though, Phillips was adamant in not calling the film a “comic book movie” as it was less inspired by the story behind Joker and more inspired by the works of Martin Scorsese and Sidney Lumet.
“We were struggling to get Joker made, which sounds funny, because it exists in the superhero world, but it’s really not one of those movies. Joker “was greatly inspired by the works of Martin Scorsese and Sidney Lumet, and other filmmakers that I grew up worshiping in the 70s and early 80s.”
Many, though, knew of the film because it was rife with controversy behind the concept of the film before release. In a section on THR’s Director Roundtable, he told them he never “subscribed” to the media declaring his film something it isn’t.
“I just didn’t subscribe to that, quite frankly, bullshit [sic] thing that was happening in the media where they just pick a movie every so often and declare it means something that it doesn’t.”
Powder Vs. Spark
He elaborated by explaining the film wasn’t about “the spark,” but rather, it was about “the powder” the cause of it.
“We made a movie about childhood trauma and loss of compassion and lack of love in a person’s life and what that might do, but everybody always wants to talk about the spark and not the powder. The film’s really about the powder, what [sic] makes that happen.”
The controversy around Joker stemmed from media claiming Phillips’ film was going to cause another theater shooting, similar to the 2012 Aroura, Colorado shooting. The controversy was doubled, though, when the film earned the Golden Lion during its debut at the Venice Film Festival.