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Joaquin Phoenix may be the Joker but in his latest interview with The Telegraph it appears the actor was certainly not laughing. The worldwide promo trail for a film is a busy one. As the lead you’re faced with long days and hundreds of questions and it appears that when film critic Robbie Collin posed an interesting real-life scenario, it was the straw that broke the camels back.

Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker is the origin story Batman’s archenemies Arthur Fleck, an isolated and ostracised comedian who is brought to a state of insanity from a series of unfortunate life events and harsh societal treatment. The film is R-rated and expectedly portrays graphic violence. When asked by The Telegraph if the film “might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results,” Phoenix was reportedly taken aback.

“Why? Why would you … ? No, no,” Phoenix responded.

The 44-year-old proceeded to walk out of the interview. He returned an hour later after Warner Bros. representatives convinced the actor to continue. He allegedly never answered the question but has in the past admitted that the film is far more tangible to everyday people and is rooted in societal meaning than standard superhero films.

“You always want it to feel real, and you want the little violence that we have to have an impact,” Phoenix said. “What happens in a lot of movies is that you get numb to it, you’re killing 40,000 people, you don’t feel it. While being a fictional story in a fictional world, you always want it to feel real. Everything that happens in this movie as far as violence goes, you feel it.”

So far, Joker has found resounding success at Toronto and Venice Film Festival with an eight-minute standing ovation and is rated at 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is released into Australian cinemas on October 3. Check out the trailer below.