An actor’s process may seem confusing to non-actors — and, in the case of Joaquin Phoenix, even occasionally to co-stars.
That’s the revelation from “Joker” director Todd Phillips, who discusses the new film and its mercurial star in an in-depth interview with the New York Times.
According to Phillips, the 44-year-old Oscar nominee would sometimes lose his composure during filming when he felt he wasn’t delivering the performance he was aiming for.
“In the middle of the scene, he’ll just walk away and walk out,” Phillips tells the Times. “And the poor other actor thinks it’s them and it was never them — it was always him, and he just wasn’t feeling it.”
However, Phillips points out, after taking some time, Phoenix would say, “we’ll take a walk and we’ll come back and we’ll do it.”
One co-star who never experienced that, however, was Robert De Niro, who tells the Times his experience working with Phoenix was as professional as it gets.
“Joaquin was very intense in what he was doing, as it should be, as he should be,” De Niro says. “There’s nothing to talk about, personally, on the side, ‘Let’s have coffee.’ Let’s just do the stuff.”
Phillips, however, admits that he took it all in stride, seeing it as part of what makes Phoenix such an iconoclastic actor.
“If he goes on ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ and walks off after two minutes, I’d be like, ‘That’s my boy,’” the director quips.
“Joker” screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, and will make its debut in theatres on Oct. 4.