The new psychological thriller Joker won the Venice International Film Festival’s highest prize, the Golden Lion, when it made its world premiere in late August.
But in the wake of all the high praise for the film and its star Joaquin Phoenix, there has also been a number of headlines that have questioned the violent nature of the story and its lead character.
As a result of all the recent media scrutiny, Warner Bros. Entertainment, the Hollywood studio behind Joker, has restricted access to the talent and filmmakers at the US premiere at Hollywood’s famous TCL Chinese Theater on Saturday.
Major move: Warner Bros. Entertainment has restricted access to the talent and filmmakers at the US premiere at Hollywood’s famous TCL Chinese Theater on Saturday
‘Our red carpet is comprised of photographers only,’ a studio spokesperson told Variety, while referencing the move was due to all the press over the criticism of the violence.
‘A lot has been said about Joker and we feel it’s time for people to see the film.’
Basically that translates to no access to the stars on the red carpet for print and television journalists.
Among the stars expected to attend the US premiere include: Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, who plays his love interest Sophie Dumond, and Francis Conroy, who portrays Arthur Fleck’s ailing mother Penny, along with the film’s director Todd Phillips.
The reasoning: Of the media restrictions, a studio spokesperson said: ‘A lot has been said about Joker and we feel it’s time for people to see the film’
Top notch: Phoenix has been receiving praise for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill and impoverished stand-up comedian who transforms in the the deranged Joker
Some of the concerns that have arisen since the Venice debut are centered around how the film portrays Fleck’s transformation to the mass murdering Joker, and that it paints him too sympathetically.
Earlier this week, Phillips said it wasn’t fair to link the Joker to real-life-violence.
In the same interview he questioned why the John Wick franchise, with all of its non-stop violence, hasn’t received the same criticism his film has been getting.
‘The movie still takes place in a fictional world. It can have real-world implications, opinions, but it’s a fictional character in a fictional world that’s been around for 80 years,’ Phillips told the AP.
That brings up the real-life safety concern surrounding Joker: The thriller is the follow-up to 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, which also received praise for it’s performances that included Heath Leger as the Joker and Christian Bale as Batman.
Star power: Joaquin Phoenix is expected to be at the US premiere in Hollywood on Saturday; he is pictured at a special screeing in London, England on Thursday September 25
His take on the controversy: Joker writer-director Todd Phillips (left) has defended the film and said it wasn’t fair to link the Joker to real-life-violence
But then tragedy struck on July 20, 2012, when James Holmes stormed into a theater during a midnight showing of the superhero classic in Aurora, Colorado and set off tear gas and began shooting into the audience.
In the end, 12 people were killed and 70 others were injured, 58 of them were from gunfire.
Following the bloody massacre, security at movie theaters was increased for fear of copycat crimes.
Those very same fears are in now in play for Joker’s run in theaters.
Security concerns: Joker is the follow-up to 2012’s The Dark Night Rises, which had tragedy strike a midnight showing of the film in Aurora, Colorado; a gunman stormed in with tear gas and began shooting into the audience
The madman: James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others during his bloody massacre
Landmark Theatres, which owns 52 theaters in 27 markets, will be banning any costumes, masks, face paint and props related to the new Joker movie, during its theatrical run.
Meanwhile, the US Army, confirmed it had sent out a memo obtained by CNN to commanders in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, about the possible targeting of a theater during the movie’s release.
With all this in mind, both the US Army and the Los Angeles Police Department will be on high alert as a precaution.
‘At this point, we are not aware of any information indicating a specific, credible threat to a particular location or venue, said Chris Grey, a spokesperson for USA CID.
Joker hits theaters in the US October 4.
Coming: Joker hits theaters in the US October 4