‘Joker’: The Deleted Scene Joaquin Phoenix Misses the Most
Love it or hate it, Joker undeniably has a more psychological bent to it than most comic book films. This approach not only makes director Todd Phillips’ film more unsettling but has also kept audiences guessing what is real and what isn’t. Even Phoenix’s performance as Arthur Fleck is layered with ambiguity.
As a result, fans searching for answers in the wake of Joker‘s release are only developing more theories. Phillips has already revealed that we can’t rely on any forthcoming deleted scenes to clear things up. But, in the same interview with Collider, Phoenix shares his thoughts on the one deleted scene he misses the most.
The hardest scene for Todd Phillips to cut
Although Joker clearly represents Phillips’ vision, Phoenix laments that the director was forced to cut a scene involving a stairwell confrontation between Arthur and Randall (Glenn Fleshler). The moment even gets a callback in the finished film, as Arthur writes on a sign in the same stairwell. Still, Phoenix maintains that Joker “makes total sense” without the cut footage.
“That’s just what’s so cool about movies, right?” Phoenix said. “You can have a great scene. It’s something that makes sense. But the movie is the collection of all of these scenes, and they have to work together to tell the story. And it actually made that whole sequence so smooth.”
Phillips concurs that this Arthur/Randall moment was a big loss but ultimately serves the film as a whole. In fact, he said that the decision to cut the sequence was “a heartbreatker,” and it “might’ve been the last scene (he) cut out.”
The lost ‘Joker’ footage we might still see
While Phillips swears off deleted scenes, there is one bit of Joker footage that fans might still see. So much of the film’s marketing centers on its big dance sequence, a prime example of the Joker’s theatricality in action. As it turns out, Phillips has lots more where that came from.
“While I don’t like deleted scenes, we did cut this fun thing together of all the times of (Phoenix) walking out on Murray Franklin,” Phillips said. “Every time Murray (Robert De Niro) would stand and go, ‘Please welcome Joker,’ and the curtains would open, he comes out and does something different every time.”
Apparently, Phillips did as many as 13 alternate takes of Phoenix’s performance in that key moment. Since this isn’t technically a deleted scene, perhaps the film’s Blu-ray release could feature a supercut of Arthur’s grand entrances. Considering the disturbing events that follow his appearance on Murray’s show, this would make for a fun behind-the-scenes glimpse for fans.
Do fans really want more footage?
That alternate entrance footage aside, the lack of deleted scenes may still frustrate Joker fans. Even the aforementioned Arthur/Randall sequence will likely never see the light of day. Yet, ultimately, the film may wind up being stronger without such bonus material. After all, we may yet see more of Arthur Fleck if a sequel is greenlit.
Phillips’ tightly constructed film may not be for everyone. But one of Joker‘s greatest strengths is its commitment to the unreliability of Arthur’s own mind. If Phillips does release any deleted scenes, they might threaten that aspect of the film, hinting at just how far gone he is at various points throughout.