NOTE: The following article may reveal some very minor spoilers about Joker.
Joker director Todd Phillips answered some questions after screening the film at Toronto International Film Festival, including one with regards to how the audience is supposed to perceive the character.
Phillips clarified that the actions of Arthur Fleck aren’t supposed to be adored, but that the audience is meant to slowly find their moment at which to lose support for the film’s main character:
the hero and you root for him until you can’t root for him any longer. And that point is different for
certain people but Arthur’s actions in this movie are abhorrent by the end, you’re not supposed
to be rooting for him.
The idea behind the character, Phillips said, is for the audience to slowly experience Arthur’s transformation between someone it may get behind to someone it absolutely can’t.
You can see hear that quote on the Q&A video from TIFF below:
Joker opens in theaters this October.