Why Joaquin Phoenix & Robert De Niro Clashed During ‘Joker’ Production

Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro butted heads during the production of Joker because the former didn’t want to do read-through of the film’s script.

Two of the most storied American actors, Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro graced the silver screen together for 2019’s Joker. The film was an absolute tour de force, with Phoenix receiving countless amounts of praise for his performance as the titular character, which resulted in him receiving a Best Actor Oscar at the Academy Awards. Phoenix is well known as a method actor and his approach to acting is quite unorthodox when compared to Hollywood legends like De Niro.

In a recent profile on Joaquin Phoenix, GQ was able to discover that the Joker actor butted heads with his co-star Robert De Niro over his unconventional approach to acting. Phoenix has no interest in rehearsals as it tempers the naturalism of a scene, making them feel secure. De Niro insisted on a read-through of the Joker script, which isn’t how Phoenix rolls. Unfortunately for the Oscar-winning actor, De Niro called director Todd Phillips, demanding that Phoenix show up. Here’s what Robert De Niro said to the Joker director.

“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.”

Joaquin Phoenix maintained his position and had somewords to say to his director when he found out what De Niro wanted.

“There’s no f***ing way I’m doing a read-through.”

In the end, the Joker actor played ball with Robert De Niro’s wishes, though he did it begrudgingly, confirming that he mumbled through the entire script and later left for a smoke. De Niro later asked Joaquin Phoenix to join him in his office for a chat, but the Joker star simply said that he was feeling ill, rejecting the invitation. However, at the behest of the director, Phoenix met the The Irishman actor and both found a happy medium. In hindsight, it’s easy to see that the animosity Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck had for De Niro’s Murray Franklin during the climax of Joker was more than likely coming from a very real and annoyed place.

What are your thoughts on these two stars clashing during the production of Joker? Comment below and let us know!

Here is the official synopsis for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker:

Director Todd Phillips “Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.

Directed by Todd Phillips from a script he co-wrote with Scott Silver, 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.

Joker is now available on Digital HD, Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD.

Source: GQ