Watch Joaquin Phoenix film the already iconic stair dancing scene from Joker in newly surfaced fan-made behind-the-scenes video. With just under a billion dollars grossed, Joker has become a monster worldwide hit and the most profitable comic book movie ever despite an R rating, no traditional hero and - most importantly from a box office standpoint - no release in China.
How Joker managed to conquer the international box office despite all the strikes against it is something experts will be picking apart for a long time to come. What's certain is that the film is a true pop culture phenomenon, thanks in large part to the lead performance of Phoenix, who has generated Oscar buzz for the role of Arthur Fleck, a nobody who rises to become a supervillain in a gritty re-visualizing of the Joker origin story. Joker has so wowed everyone with its dark and realistic take on the comic book movie genre that even Martin Scorsese seems to concede the film is genuine cinema (after famously claiming he doesn't like comic book movies and thinks Marvel movies aren't cinema).
Among all Joker's already iconic cinematic moments, perhaps none has had more impact than the scene where Phoenix's Fleck, in full Joker makeup and costume, performs a crazy dance on a Gotham City staircase. Now, behind-the-scenes film of the famous moment has surfaced on the internet (via Complex). The person who took the film is unknown (a Reddit user named azar0v is credited, but they themselves said on Reddit that they got the clip from an unidentified Tumblr site, so the identity of the original poster is still a mystery), but whoever it was certainly got an amazing view of Phoenix shooting a scene that has already taken on mythic status. See the clip in the space below:
Indeed, so popular is the stair dancing sequence that the real life Bronx location where the scene was shot has become a popular tourist spot, attracting Joker fans who want to recreate the dance themselves. Of course, residents of that neighborhood are not happy about the notoriety the location is receiving, and have even erected signs asking Joker fans to please stop using their staircase as a stage for their impromptu dance numbers.
Despite the poor visual quality, the newly surfaced footage definitely affords fans a unique and interesting view of the making of a scene that has already become a huge part of comic book movie lore. Fascination with that one particular scene is just a single example of the huge impact Joker has had, and proves that Todd Phillips knew what he was doing when he took on the task of re-telling the story of the Joker in his own unique way. Hopefully, studios will now realize that comic book movies don't have to follow a familiar formula and can still succeed even when they take huge storytelling and acting risks.