Joaquin Phoenix has made headlines for his quirky reactions to Joker outtakes. The publicity stunt of him getting angry at a cinematographer was pretty awkward. Now it turns out one of the most iconic moments in the new film was also shot with various versions.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Joker
Joaquin Phoenix surprised fans by turning up at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Los Angeles, California, to chat with them and take selfies after a screening of Joker.
Being a little more friendly than many have experienced him in an interview of late, he discussed how they filmed the iconic final scene.
He said: “Like, that last scene, we did seven different versions of walking down the hallway.
“So there are seven different versions. For me, I’ve seen so many different versions of the movie.
“I don’t get to view it like you do, but maybe it’s better, I don’t know.”
Arthur Fleck in his clown make up in Joker
He even apologised jokingly for “ruining the ending” by turning up at their screening, but his revelation about the final scene may have made the experience even richer for fans.
The scene takes place after Joker has emerged from a car crash and stood victorious on the bonnet, to hundreds of anarchists cheering him.
The audience is then introduced to him sitting in a white padded room, handcuffed, doing therapy at what seems likely to be Arkham Asylum.
He talks with the therapist, but laughs uncontrollably, telling the psychiatrist she would not understand his joke.
Joker is then seen strutting away from the therapy room, leaving a trail of bloodied footprints, before he comically runs away from orderlies who try to hold him down.
Arthur Fleck on a bus in Joker
The idea of there being seven different versions of this is intriguing, as that final scene plants a variety of different meaning to the film.
Speaking to Los Angeles Times, director Todd Phillips explains how that final scene has a very important meaning, mainly to do with the maniacal laugh the audience have heard throughout the film.
He said: “That laugh in that scene is really the only time he laughs genuinely.
“There are different laughs in the movie. There is the laugh from Arthur’s affliction and then there is his fake laugh when he’s trying to be ‘one of the people,’ which is my favourite laugh.
“But at the end, when he’s in the room at Arkham State Hospital, that’s his only genuine laugh in the movie.
Joaquin Phoenix as Joker dancing on the stairs in Joker
“When Scott Silver and I sat down to write it, we knew enough about the comics. I read comics when I was a kid, we knew he didn’t have an origin story.
“We also, I don’t want to say whether it’s real or not because I think part of the fun, I’ve shown it to many, many different people and they all have a different reaction.
“Some of them say, ‘Oh I get it, I mean the last line in the movie, you wouldn’t get it, to a joke he was telling.
“‘Well is the joke the movie? Is the joke the thing? Or is the thing about the –‘
“The idea is you don’t like to answer those questions because it’s nice to see the different things people take away from it.”
Joaquin Phoenix putting on Joker make-up as Arthur Fleck
The fact the psychiatrist did not understand the joke means it may be there is no joke at all, just The Joker laughing at all he has accomplished – if any of that is even real.
Phillips even suggested this last line may be in reference to inspiring the Joker, implying that Phoenix’s character may not be the bonafide villain.
He added: “Maybe Joaquin’s character inspired the Joker. You don’t really know.
“His last line in the movie is, ‘You wouldn’t get it.’ There’s a lot going on in there that’s interesting.”
Whoever Arthur Fleck really is, odds are one of those seven versions of the final scene reveals a little too much, and that is why we are left with the ambiguous ending we have.
Joker is in cinemas now