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Joker seems to be all anybody can talk about right now. It's become a controversial film even before most people have had a chance to see it, and following star Joaquin Phoenix's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live people are talking even more about a bizarre interview related to an even more bizarre outtake. However, it's been made clear that everything about the sequence was a joke.
In the interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Joaquin Phoenix talks about, despite the intensity of the movie, everybody had a pretty good time making Joker. In response, an "outtake" was aired that showed Phoenix apparently laying into the film's cinematographer with a series of expletives, which were, of course all bleeped for ABC.
Upon seeing the clip, Joaquin Phoenix then appears to become incredibly embarrassed and begins to talk about the intensity that can come with trying to find something in a performance and he offers a brief apology, acting as if this clip has been sprung on him without his knowledge. However, EW confirmed with Phoenix's publicist that the "outtake" was actually a joke, meaning the entire thing was really just a bit.
This isn't the first time we've seen Joaquin Phoenix break into a sort of performance art piece on late night television. Many years ago on The Late Show with David Letterman, Joaquin Phoenix made a memorable appearance which was part of a significant change in image for the actor, which turned out to all be part of a performance for the film I'm Still Here.
It's an odd sort of gag because, much like the stuff Phoenix was doing in public for I'm Still Here, it's not actually all that funny. The outtake isn't over-the-top in the way that makes you laugh, instead it feels like you're watching somebody have a minor meltdown, which is always awkward. It's also a pretty significant change in tone for the interview as a whole. For the most part everything up to that point is your standard late night interview material.
Phoenix, for his part, does a great job selling the idea that he was not prepared for this. The whole thing only feels more awkward at that point. One hopes Joaquin Phoenix thought it was funny, since he was the only one that likely got the joke.
You can check out Joaquin Phoenix's interview, including the odd "outtake" and Joaquin Phoenix's response to it, in the clip below.
Whether or not everybody had a good time making Joker, it's not looking like watching the film is going to be all of that good a time in the traditional sense. It may be a great film with great performances and a compelling narrative, but it's not the sort of thing you're likely to be smiling about when it's over.
Joker opens this evening before going intro wide release Friday.