Two days ahead of the film’s release, Joaquin Phoenix made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote Joker.
The 44-year-old actor, however, was thrown off guard and became seemingly flustered after Jimmy Kimmel played a “private” outtake from the movie, which the host claimed was sent to him by Joker director Todd Phillips.
In the nearly 40-second clip, Phoenix is seen without a shirt on, clad in the iconic white Joker makeup as he is sitting down and scribbling away with a pen.
The Her star can be heard cussing out cinematographer Lawrence Sher, whom he calls Larry, for whispering and distracting him while on set.
“It’s the constant whispering,” said Phoenix in the clip. “Just shut the f–k up, dude. I’m trying to like … find something real.”
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He continues: “Sorry, I sound like such a d–k. It’s not a big deal, it’s not a big deal … Yeah, it kind of is.”
Phoenix’s comments later suggest that Sher began calling him “Cher” for acting like a “diva.”
“F–k this,” said the actor. “I know you started the f–king Cher thing, Larry. You’re f–king making fun of me. Like I’m a f–king diva. It’s not even an insult.”
WATCH: Joaquin Phoenix admits Jimmy Kimmel ’embarrassed’ him with surprise outtake clip from ‘Joker’
“Cher, really?” he adds. “Singer, actor, dancer, fashion icon. How is that a f–king insult?”
Before walking off camera, Phoenix concludes: “F–k. I can’t do this, man.”
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The clip ends abruptly and cuts back to the interview. A shocked-looking Phoenix sighed as Kimmel, 51, proceeds to ask him what happened.
Phoenix stared into the distance and shook his head before clearing his throat.
“Yeah… Larry is the cinematographer,” he said. “This is so embarrassing.”
“Did he call you Cher?” asked Kimmel.
The actor continued: “Um… Yeah. Look… 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. But that was supposed to be private. I’m a little embarrassed and I’m sorry about that.”
“I’m sorry you guys had to see that,” Phoenix said to the audience.
“Let me think about this a bit more. My publicist will issue a formal statement tomorrow,” he joked.
“Can we move on? Is there something else to talk about?”
Phoenix then said he “should probably publicly apologize to Larry.”
“I am sorry, but he did whisper constantly while we’re trying to work, and sometimes, it’s really hard to find the emotion you’re after. It was wrong of me, I’m sorry… but he shouldn’t have done it,” the actor said.
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The interview garnered a lot of attention online, with some criticizing Kimmel for being insensitive and playing the clip, saying it made the entire interview “awkward.”
Here’s what some Twitter users had to say:
Another tweeted Kimmel directly, writing: “That was such a disrespectful interview with Joaquin Phoenix. I hope you apologized after.”
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On Wednesday, EW reported that Phoenix’s publicist said the clip was just “a joke outtake.”
Global News has reached out to a representative of Phoenix seeking confirmation and further clarification on whether the “outtake” was genuine or not.
Joker arrives in cinemas across Canada on Oct. 4.
Watch the final trailer in the video above.