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“Is De Niro going to throw an ashtray at me?”: Joaquin Phoenix Was Scared For His Life After Sassing Robert De Niro Too Hard While Filming ‘Joker’

Joaquin Phoenix Was Scared For His Life After Sassing Robert De Niro Too Hard While Filming ‘Joker’

Actor Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator) spoke with the Associated Press News in September of 2019 about his experiences working on the DC Elseworlds film – Joker, which was released the same year. The film transformed Phoenix in more ways than one and got him an Oscar for Best Actor.

He answered questions about his experimentation with the character and the scenes; discovering the dance moves; and massive weight loss, and finally got to the part where he disclosed his on-set shenanigans with another powerhouse actor – Robert De Niro.

Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro
Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro

De Niro, being 32 years older than Phoenix, was the senior-most actor on the set. The two had a disagreement when the filming hadn’t begun; it led to the 80-year-old actor talking it out with the director, Todd Phillips. 

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Phoenix, in order to play a character who is on a psychological downfall, had to delve deeper into his psyche. As a result, he picked on De Niro a few times, which angered the veteran actor.

Read More: “Todd thought he broke his hand!”: Joaquin Phoenix’s Dangerous Behavior Scared $1 Billion Movie Crew

Joaquin Phoenix Troubled Robert De Niro

Phoenix may have played a mentally deranged character who is looking to create chaos, but De Niro has had The Godfather Part II (1974) and Goodfellas (1990) experience in his arsenal.

In a 2019 Vanity Fair exclusive interview, Phoenix revealed that Robert De Niro wanted to do a read-through of the script and he was reluctant about that.

A still from Joker (2019)
A still from Joker (2019)

Todd Phillips became something of a referee managing both sides; De Niro boldly said to him –

“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.”

This disagreement settled eventually with Phoenix obliging De Niro, though he found enough time throughout the film to throw sass at him.

Read More: “I watched it all very closely”: Ray Liotta’s Clash With Martin Scorsese’s Security Made Director Cast Actor In $47M Robert De Niro Movie

Robert De Niro Almost Threw An Ashtray At Joaquin Phoenix

De Niro played Murray Franklin who was a talk show host. The film had his character challenge Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck on his comedic abilities with downright belittling in a few scenes.

Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro
Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro

Joaquin Phoenix, however, got the chance to get back at De Niro in a scene where he poked fun at his character with full-blown Joker mannerisms.

“It was one of my favorite parts, saying ‘Murr-AY.’ Todd loved that too. And when I did that I thought, ‘Is De Niro just going to throw an ashtray at me?’” – said Phoenix.

Also Read: “It looks better than it did before”: Robert De Niro Thanked Robin Williams for Breaking His Nose After His Freak Injury in $29M Movie Left Him Disfigured

Joker starred Zazie Beetz and Glenn Fleshler in supporting roles. Todd Phillips is coming back with the sequel.

Joker: Folie à Deux has an official release date of October 4, 2024.

Source: Associated Press News, Vanity Fair

Written by Ojaswi Chaudhary

Extremely passionate about a great story since the little guy was 8. He has lived through nothing short of almost 300 of Hollywood's finest pieces of work, and is now creating some of his own here at FandomWire. He loves to make time for a good book and a good meal.