[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Joker.”]
Todd Phillips’ record-breaking blockbuster “Joker” has no shortage of extreme moments, be it Joaquin Phoenix’s character locking himself in a refrigerator or shooting Robert De Niro in the face at point blank range, but there was at least one filmed scene too extreme for the theatrical cut. During a recent conversation at the SBIFF Cinema Society (via Insider), Phillips revealed that among the “Joker” deleted scenes was “one that is amazing in a bathtub, but I don’t think we can actually include it in an R-rated movie and it’s not because it was pornographic, it was just insane.”
What could possibly be more extreme than watching Robert De Niro take a bullet to the head? Apparently whatever happened in the “Joker” bathtub scene. Phillips has been vocal about there being plenty of “Joker” scenes that were left on the cutting room floor, but fans should not expect these moments to ever see the light of day. In an interview with Collider last month, Phillips rejected the idea of releasing a director’s cut of “Joker” with additional footage.
“I hate fucking extended cuts. I hate deleted scenes,” Phillips said. “They’re deleted for a reason. The movie that exists is exactly the movie I want it to be and I will never show a deleted scene.”
While the existence of a bathtub scene too crazy for an R rating is sure to stir up “Joker” fans, it’s understandable why Phillips would cut the moment out of the film, as it wasn’t easy to get Warner Bros. to sign off on an R-rated “Joker” in the first place. The filmmaker told the Los Angeles Times shortly after “Joker” world premiered at the Venice Film Festival that it was “a year-long process” from when the script was finished to get the studio on board with his R-rated vision.
“There were emails about: ‘You realize we sell Joker pajamas at Target,’” Phillips said. “There were a zillion hurdles, and you just sort of had to navigate those one at a time… At the time I would curse them in my head every day. But then I have to put it in perspective and go, ‘They’re pretty bold that they did this.’”
“Joker” is nearing the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office. Not only is the comic book drama the highest-grossing R-rated release in box office history (unadjusted for inflation), but it’s also become the most profitable comic book film ever released.