Warner Bros. Nixes Interviews at 'Joker' Premiere

The Joker-Joaquin Phoenix-Publicity Still 11-H 2019
<p><em>Joker</em></p>   |   Warner Bros. Pictures
The move comes as the critically acclaimed film has faced scrutiny for its themes and realistic gun violence.

Warner Bros. will no longer be allowing press interviews during Saturday's Joker premiere. Though print and broadcast journalists had previously been invited to cover the red carpet, now only photographers will be on the press line Saturday at TCL Chinese Theatre.

"Our red carpet is comprised of photographers only,” a Warner Bros. rep told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. "A lot has been said about Joker, and we just feel it’s time for people to see the film.”

The move comes as Joker, which stars Joaquin Phoenix in a critically acclaimed turn as the classic DC villain, has faced scrutiny. Five families of the victims of the 2012 Aurora, Colo., shooting at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises released an open letter to the studio Tuesday expressing their concerns and asking Warner Bros. to make a donation to victims' groups and to use its clout to push for stronger gun control laws. In the letter, the families shared worry the character of the Joker could inspire others to commit such atrocities.

Filmmaker Todd Phillips and Phoenix have both said that promoting violence was never their intention in making the film, which has earned critical acclaim ahead of its Oct. 4 release and already screened at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. In response to the letter from the Aurora families, Warner Bros. has maintained "neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind." 

Law enforcement has been on the lookout for potential issues around the Joker release, and the Los Angeles Police Department has said there have been no "credible threats" surrounding the film.