Joaquin Phoenix Initially Had A Different Interpretation Of Joker, Which Was Scrapped From The Film

Joaquin Phoenix has earned rave reviews for his performance in Joker, and it's difficult to see his take on the character being something completely different. In a recent interview though Phoenix revealed that was the case, as it took several weeks of filming for him to find the character that we would ultimately see on the big screen. Phoenix spoke candidly about this process recently in an interview with Launch Left, where he revealed that it took longer than he had hoped to find the character, and he had to change course during filming.

On Joker, I told Todd at the beginning 'the last week I'll get it.' It wasn't quite that but we shot the first...I don't really want to say how many weeks because it's really embarrassing, but seve4ral weeks in which there are maybe 3 minutes of that in the movie? I don't know how long but a couple of scenes, because I went in with an idea, a concept of the character. I thought I was really smart. I thought it was really interesting," Phoenix said.

"I found this reference of this guy, this kid who was undergoing psychiatric evaluation," Phoenix said. "I thought his behavior was really interesting and this may be a very good model, and we ended up using some of the look, some of the wardrobe was kind of based on this guy, but I was doing this thing for the first few weeks, that if you saw it you would go 'wait, that's really what we started with and you shot for that long doing that?'"

"I think Todd and I just wanted to push ourselves and go like 'it's okay' and not try and hold anything back," Phoenix said. "Let's go for it and fine let's go for this, and there was a point where we shot for a while and we stepped back and looked at it and realized that it wasn't the right direction."

There was a point where I realized this is wrong and I had to go into work and tell the makeup and hair and the wardrobe and everybody and go to Todd and talk about it, and luckily he is so open and lovely and treated me like a f****** partner, so I felt fine with him. But it was really embarrassing to go to makeup and hair and say 'I f***** up and I want to change the hair, and I want to change the way I'm wearing the clothes and some of the clothes and can we do this', and to think all these people that were working on this and worked really hard those couple of weeks, you know I had to admit I was totally f****** off and I was so humiliated."

"I mean I know it's a f****** small thing, big deal it's a movie right? But when you're doing it is the most important thing right, and all these people are around and they're putting up with your s*** for how many weeks, and then really was a moment where I just was crushed," Phoenix said.

Now we are quite curious to see what this earlier interpretation was, but that probably won't see the light of day.

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.

Did you know has a podcast? That's right folks, ComicBook Nation is available every Wednesday and Friday bringing you the best breakdowns of the week's biggest news from Kofi Outlaw, Matt Aguilar, Janell Wheeler & the rest of the staff at the site. Catch the newest episode right here or subscribe on iTunes today!

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.