Joaquin Phoenix has earned some high praise and rave reviews for his performance in Todd Phillips’ Joker. Even in critical reviews of the film, which were overall quite mixed, Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck was considered a standout and one of the best parts of the entire, wildly successful film. Part of that can be attributed to Phoenix’s willingness to try new, off-script things with the character and according to Phillips it’s one of those impromptu, improvised moments that was incredible, but never actually made it into the film — a bathtub scene that simply couldn’t be included in the R-rated film.
During a recent question and answer session at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Phillips spoke with the SBIFF Cinema Society and praised Phoenix’s willingness to just “try things” and went into a bit of detail about what that looks like
“So the other thing that’s great about Joaquin is that he’s always up to try things,” Phillips said. “So, we would finish our days early sometimes and we started doing this thing, Joaquin and I, we called it … a study of insomnia. It was our own fun little thing like we have an hour left in the day, let’s light this kitchen, Joaquin let’s do something over by the sink or the fridge, and let’s just set up two cameras, Larry (Sher) would operate one, Jeff (Groth) would operate the other, and we would do these things — the fridge was one of those. It wasn’t in the script it was something that Joaquin just kind of did and there was a few others, there’s only one other that’s in the movie and it’s when he’s laughing after he goes to Zazie’s (Beetz) apartment and he comes back down the hall and he’s laughing alone in that living room, that was another one.”
But while some of those impromptu scenes made their way to the final version, some did not, including a bathtub scene that Phillips described as “insane”.
“There were two or three others we shot, one that is amazing in a bathtub, but I don’t think we can actually include it in an R-rated movie and it’s not because it was pornographic, it was just insane,” he said.
Phillips offers no other description of that “insane” bathtub scene, leaving fans to wonder what transpired in it and, perhaps, to hope that there may someday be a director’s cut of Joker or perhaps even for that scene to be included as bonus material on the eventual home release.
Joker stars Phoenix (Arthur Fleck/Joker), Zazie Beetz (Sophie Dumond), Robert De Niro (Murray Franklin), Brett Cullen (Thomas Wayne), Frances Conroy (Penny Fleck), Marc Maron (Ted Marco), Douglas Hodge (Alfred Pennyworth), Josh Pais (Hoyt Vaughn), Bryan Tyree Henry, Bryan Callen, Shea Whigham, and Glen Fleshler. You can find the official description below.
“Drama. Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale.”
Joker is in theaters now.