Movies - TV
Joaquin Phoenix And Robert De Niro Had A Rocky Start Working On Joker
Joaquin Phoenix's Joker took him to some increasingly dark places, the most hostile were his encounters with late-night host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), who plays a key role in Arthur Fleck’s downfall. In an example of life imitating art, it seems as though Phoenix and De Niro's relationship was equally tense — at least at first.
For Phoenix, it's all about understanding the character and embodying them on set, giving way to a more spontaneous approach that's rooted in the character he plays. However, Robert De Niro takes a more by-the-book approach, beginning with a script read-through, a practice he considers to be standard. But Phoenix wasn't interested.
As director Todd Phillips recalled to Vanity Fair: "Bob called me, and he goes, 'Tell him he's an actor and he's got to be there, I like to hear the whole movie, and we're going to all get in a room and just read it.' And I'm in between a rock and a hard place because Joaquin's like, 'There's no f****** way I'm doing a read-through,' and Bob's like, 'I do read-throughs before we shoot, that's what we do.'"
Ultimately, Phoenix agreed to a script read-through but "mumbled" his way through the script and then went off for a smoke in the corner of the room. De Niro invited him to his office for a chat, but Phoenix refused. Phillips continued to Vanity Fair: "He's in front of Bob, and he goes, 'I can't, I gotta go home,' because he felt sick after that read-through, he didn't like it."
After the uncomfortable exchange, Phillips urged them both to meet and talk through their issues. At one point De Niro turned to Phoenix, took his face in his hands, and kissed him on the cheek. "It's going to be okay, bubbeleh," he said. De Niro certainly got to see Phoenix's darker side, but it sounds as though the two managed to put aside their differences once the cameras stopped rolling.