Out of all the major comic book movies that Hollywood brought to theaters this year, DC’s Joker was easily the darkest and most violent, but according to director Todd Phillips, the production’s most extreme footage has yet to see the light of day.
Speaking to the SBIFF Cinema Society at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Phillips praised actor Joaquin Phoenix for his willingness to try new things on set:
“So the other thing that’s great about Joaquin is that he’s always up to try things. 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.”
Nonetheless, some of this impromptu content had to be left out of the final film in order to secure an R-rating:
“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.”
Phillips stopped short of explaining just what happened in this bathtub scene, leaving us to wonder what unsettling footage was left on the cutting room floor. Still, given the film’s ongoing popularity, it’s not hard to imagine the sequence some day emerging in a director’s cut or as a bonus feature on the movie’s home release.
In the meantime, Joker’s record-breaking run at the box office continues, with the film currently boasting a reported worldwide gross of $958.9 million. It’s been over two weeks now since Phillips’ feature passed the Deadpool movies to become the highest grossing R-rated film of all time and since then, the flick has beaten out the likes of Venom and The Mask for the title of most profitable comic book movie ever made.
No doubt Joker will stay in the conversation as we move into awards season. While Phoenix is currently looking like a credible candidate for a Best Actor nomination at next year’s Academy Awards, Warner Bros. is also pushing the film in an assortment of other categories, including Best Picture. They still have a couple more months to make their case, but after that, it’s only a short wait until DC’s Birds of Prey hits theaters on February 7th, 2020.