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Robert De Niro in Joker

Last fall headlines were made when a series of pipe bombs were sent to several high profile people. Actor Robert De Niro was one of those people. However, it turns out there's a bit more to the story, as the day that De Niro received the potentially dangerous device was also his first day on the set of the movie Joker.

Joker director Todd Philips recently revealed that De Niro receiving the pipe bomb resulted in the FBI searching the set of the film. While the pipe bomb had been sent to the actor's New York office, the feds clearly wanted to be sure there wasn't a secondary device in a place where the actor was planning to be. Philips was afraid the entire ordeal would make working with the accomplished actor difficult, but it apparently did not phase De Niro. According to Philips...

We had FBI guys showing up to search the set. And I thought, ‘Oh god, what’s he gonna be like?’ And he comes in like it’s nothing, just ready to rock, knew his shit. He’s amazing.

I think Robert De Niro would have been forgiven by everybody on the set if he'd been a little shaken by the ordeal of being sent a pipe bomb in the mail, or if he'd been too frustrated to work. However, from what Todd Philips tells Empire (via Indiewire), there was no need to worry.

It's unclear if the fact that federal agents were searching the set was an issue for anybody else. The idea that there might be an explosive device hidden someplace certainly has the potential to put the entire cast and crew on edge. Although, considering the premise of the film, perhaps that aided in all the performances.

Luckily, nobody was hurt by the pipe bomb sent to De Niro. The bomb sent to the actor was one of many sent to mostly political figures like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, though Robert De Niro is a politically vocal Hollywood star.

In Joker, Robert De Niro plays talk show host Murray Franklin who meets Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, a comedian slowly going mad. While the movie is named after the popular Batman villain, and is technically a DC Comics produced film, the story is reportedly disconnected from any of the Joker's history.

Instead, it's using the ideas behind the character as inspiration to tell a new story. Robert De Niro's appearance in the film is a big deal considering that previous De Niro films, like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy are clear influences on the upcoming movie.

While R-rated movies based on comic books are nothing new these days, this approach to the story is still quite original. If it's successful it will be interesting to see if we get more fresh takes on comic books like this.

Joker is set to release in theaters October 4.

What If Joaquin Phoenix Isn't Playing the Real Joker?

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