Joaquin Phoenix was “embarrased” by a clip of outtakes from “Joker” that were shown on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Tuesday night, leading him to “publicly apologize” to the film’s cinematographer.
Jimmy Kimmel showed the “Joker” star an expletive-laded outtake reel of Phoenix on camera berating someone named Larry from just off screen. While the moment feels like it could’ve been staged, with his reps telling TheWrap on Wednesday morning that it was a joke, Phoenix seemed genuinely taken aback by watching the clip and felt the need to rationalize and apologize for what the audience just saw.
“This is so embarrassing,” Phoenix told Kimmel. “Sometimes movies get intense because you’re a lot of people in a small space and you’re trying to find something, so it can feel intense. That was supposed to be private. I’m a little embarrassed. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry you guys had to see that.”
Phoenix said he had a really fun time making the film with director Todd Phillips, but that Phillips actually sent Kimmel an outtake reel that might have suggested otherwise.
In the clip Kimmel showed, Phoenix is in clown makeup as the Joker, and you can hear him getting frustrated with someone for “the constant whispering,” telling him to “shut the f— up.” Phoenix also accuses the person named Larry in the clip of starting a nickname for him on set as “Cher” as though he was “a diva.” You can then see Phoenix getting irritated and eventually storming off the set.
Phoenix identified Larry as the film’s cinematographer, Lawrence Sher, who shot “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and all three “Hangover” movies with Phillips. The actor seemed genuinely humbled by having to watch this candid moment from himself on national television and felt the urge to apologize.
“Let me think about this a bit more. My publicist will issue a formal statement tomorrow. Can we move on?” Phoenix said. “I should probably publicly apologize to Larry. Larry… The thing is though, I am sorry, but he did whisper like constantly while we were trying to work, and sometimes it was really hard to find like the emotion that you’re after, so I’m really sorry, but he shouldn’t have done it.”
Of course, Phoenix has a history of acting strangely on talk shows in a performative way, most famously for his mumbly appearance with David Letterman that looked like the start of a public meltdown but was actually just part of his performance for the documentary “I’m Still Here.”
Watch the clip of Phoenix reacting to the outtake reel beginning at the 8:19 minute mark above.