That Awkward 'Joker' Footage Was, Well, A Joke
Fans of Batman movies who are sick and tired of Batman are likely excited for Joker, which makes the famous supervillain the focus of his own original movie / early Scorsese knockoff. While it feels as though we've been debating its merits for roughly 4,000 years, the film finally comes out tonight. But some of its promo efforts haven't been going great. There have been reports that the U.S. Army and the NYPD are concerned about violence erupting in theaters (presumably involving toxic fish or purple knockout gas), and director Todd Phillips claimed in an interview that he only made it because it's too difficult to make comedies in today's "woke culture." Yes, the sole reason Joker exists is that society simply couldn't handle Due Date 2.
If there's one universally celebrated aspect of the movie, it's Joaquin Phoenix. He's an actor who can play pretty much play any role, from Johnny Cash to Superboy to some guy who wants to boink his own phone. Recently, Phoenix has been making the rounds to promote his work as the Clown Prince of Crime. The other day he popped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! and things got ... awkward. Toward the end of the interview, Kimmel surprised Phoenix with an outtake reel from the film in which Phoenix continually lobs obscenities at the cinematographer, then storms off the set. Less like the Joker and more like, well, Batman.
The footage played out to dead silence from the audience, and afterwards, a visibly flustered Phoenix claimed he was "embarrassed," and even apologized. While some news outlets reported on this interaction as if it were genuine, many folks were suspicious. And for good reason. Phoenix famously retired from acting to pursue a rap career, which was eventually revealed to be an elaborate hoax. All in the service a mockumentary which you can now buy for as low as $1.55.
So is Phoenix up to the same cringey shenanigans? Yup. Almost immediately after the show aired, Phoenix's publicist confirmed it was "a joke outtake" for the enjoyment of ... we're not sure. Maybe this awkward, unfunny bit is some kind of sly reference to how the Joker's failed talk show appearance leads to a life of crime?
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