Joaquin Phoenix has a reputation for being both somewhat reserved and completely dedicated to his roles. Playing a character as complex and unique as the villainous protagonist of Joker would demand that kind of commitment and focus, so it's unsurprising that things got intense on set.
In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Phoenix talked about the physical and emotional requirements of the role, leading to the reveal of footage from the set of Joker, in which Phoenix appears to lash out at the cinematographer, Lawrence Sher. In the expletive-filled clip, Phoenix complains about "The constant whispering," telling "Larry" to "Just shut the f*** up." Upon seeing himself in the clip, Phoenix visibly cringed and, after a brief explanation and public apology to Larry, asked to change the subject.
It has been reported many times in the past that Phoenix would walk off set, in the middle of filming, whenever he felt that the take wasn't going well enough. Though it might sound like the attitude of someone difficult to work with, director Todd Phillips and some of Phoenix's co-stars have praised the actor's intensity. With early reviews praising his performance, it appears all that effort and all the trouble will prove to have been worth it in the end.
Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais and Shea Whigham. The film arrives in theaters Oct. 4.