"Why? Why would you...? No, no," Phoenix reportedly exclaimed before leaving the room.
Joaquin Phoenix reportedly walked out of an interview after being asked if his new movie "Joker" could possibly incite violence.
According to The Telegraph, journalist Robbie Collins asked the 44-year-old actor: "Aren't you worried that this film might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it's about, with potentially tragic results?"
"Why? Why would you...? No, no," exclaimed Phoenix before abruptly leaving the room, per Collins.
He then consulted with a publicist from Warner Bros., the studio behind the Todd Phillips-directed film, for about an hour, according to the publication.
The outlet reported the Oscar-nominee eventually returned to the interview, offering that he panicked because he had not genuinely considered the question before. The interview continued without any reference to the disruptive question.
"Joker", starring Phoenix as the titular role, tells the origin story of Batman's arch enemy. The movie has been receiving rave reviews ahead of its October 4th release with Mark Daniel of the Toronto Sun writing, "Phillips and Phoenix deserve credit for reimagining what a comic book movie can be."
However, the film has also been criticized for its portrayal of violence, while sympathizing with its main character.
"A movie with the message this one hammers home again and again... feels too volatile, and frankly too scary, to separate from the very real violence committed by young men like Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck in America almost every day," wrote Leah Greenblatt for Entertainment Weekly.
And Owen Gliebermann with Variety shared in his review: "A dazzlingly disturbed psycho morality play, one that speaks to the age of incels and mass shooters and no-hope politics, of the kind of hate that emerges from crushed dreams."
Meanwhile, at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, Phoenix said playing the Joker was “one of the greatest experiences of [his] career."