The press tour for Joker has been...well, “strange” doesn’t begin to cover it. Whether it’s a string of antagonistic profiles of its star, a bevy of ridiculous quotes from director Todd Phillips, or the outright banning of press from the premiere, it’s certainly been an unconventional journey to the public for the most unconventional supervillain movie ever made.
The R-rated winner of the Venice International Film Festival was never one for convention, and Joaquin Phoenix (the film’s lead as Arthur Fleck) has kept audiences guessing. Whether it was extreme weight loss or walking off the set, Phoenix poured a lot of himself into the role — which made the outtakes aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live especially odd. Traditionally, guests on talk shows to promote their projects have fun anecdotes and good laughs. Not so with this clip, which sees Phoenix butting heads with a crewmember.
Take a look at the very end of this interview:
The clip shows Phoenix struggling to get in the right headspace before a scene, complaining about someone named Larry’s constant whispering and how he’s being treated like a diva — like Cher. He then defends Cher (“Singer, actor, dancer, fashion icon — how’s that a f***ing insult?”) before walking off set. This whole kerfuffle presumably refers to cinematographer Lawrence Sher, whose last name is likely the source of this joke. Phoenix then says he’s embarrassed by the video and apologizes to Sher.
Why would Kimmel show this unflattering video? Perhaps he thought it was funny; perhaps it’s more akin to Phoenix’s spoof appearance on David Letterman back in 2009 that led up to his mockumentary I’m Still Here. It’s impossible to tell since Phoenix is coy as ever.
This is just one of the strange elements leading up to Joker’s premiere, as the New York Post reports that police will be covering theaters showing the film in New York City. While no threats or dangers have been posed, this mirrors the LAPD’s response to the film, likely a precaution spurred on by the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
Joker hits theaters on Oct. 4.