Joaquin Phoenix Had Just One Rule On Joker Movie Set

by : Cameron Frew on : 17 Oct 2019 11:06
Joker ThumbJoker ThumbWarner Bros.

There’s a notion that playing the Joker turns people nasty, perhaps even crazy – but that’s just not the case, at all. 


Following Heath Ledger’s passing after filming The Dark Knight, a twisted mythos became attached to the role – not exactly helped by Jared Leto’s vile tomfoolery on Suicide Squad, allegedly sending cast members rats and condoms.

But Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the character in Todd Phillips’ smash-hit origin story, said it was ‘fun’ to make. While on-set, it’s also been revealed he had one rule.

Check out the trailer for Joker below:


Josh Pais – who played Raphael in 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – stars as Arthur Fleck’s mean boss in the movie. When he was first in contact with Phillips, he recounted the director making sure he wasn’t an ‘asshole’.

Josh Pais Joker Premiere Josh Pais Joker Premiere PA

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Pais said: 

‘I had a meeting with Todd. He said: ‘I loved your tape. I just want to make sure that you’re not an asshole because one person on set can really ruin the whole vibe of the thing.’ Joaquin told Todd: ‘I don’t care who you cast, just make sure everybody is a really good actor — and no assholes.’ So, I guess I passed the test.

Joker has attracted widespread critical acclaim for being a ‘terrifying, harrowing, volatile triumph’. It’s not entirely unreasonable to wonder whether working on the film would be a particularly gruelling experience – but Phoenix echoed Pais sentiments, saying it was a fun, relaxed set.

Joker 2019 Joaquin PhoenixJoker 2019 Joaquin PhoenixWarner Bros.

While appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Phoenix said he felt ‘almost guilty, because I had a really good time’.

Check out the clip below: 


Although, according to Pais, it was still an incredibly focused set – everyone had to bring their A-game, sensing the dedication Phoenix was bringing to playing the Joker.

Pais added:

The level of concentration, the level that we all knew Joaquin was going to bring to this created such a focused set. I felt like I had to bring my A-game, and everybody on the crew felt the same.

It was extremely focused, and it was a high level of concentration on everybody’s part. Everybody was bringing it.

Joker 2019 2Joker 2019 2Warner Bros.

The film has attracted a surge of controversy since its release: some claim it glorifies violence (it doesn’t) and others have called it ‘dangerous’ (it isn’t).

One of the most prominent scenes in the movie features Phoenix dancing and prancing down a set of stairs to Gary Glitter’s Rock & Roll Part 2.

There were numerous reports in the fallout that Glitter – who’s currently in prison for sexually abusing three young girls between 1975 and 1980 – would receive royalties from the song’s use. However, they were completely false – he won’t receive receive any financial reward.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, DC, Film, Joaquin Phoenix, Joker


The Hollywood Reporter and 1 other
  1. The Hollywood Reporter

    'Joker' Actor on Joaquin Phoenix's One Rule on Set

  2. Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube

    Joaquin Phoenix on Playing Joker + Exclusive Outtake