When he was filming the new movie Joker, Joaquin Phoenix found out exactly why Robert DeNiro is one Hollywood icon you don’t cross.
Both actors are well known for becoming completely involved in their roles, including often staying in character even when filming stops. However, there was a key difference when it came to their attitude towards the traditional script read-through.
Phoenix for his part has already gone on the record saying that he didn’t favor this way of working, preferring instead to keep a more organic ‘in-the-moment’ feel. However, when DeNiro was informed that Phoenix was not going to be doing the read-through the veteran actor was not best pleased.
According to the Director, DeNiro called him and told him that, yes, Phoenix was going to be there because that was his job. Phillips was stuck between the two men; one insisting that this was not going to happen, and the other insisting it was.
Although Phoenix did arrive for the read-through he wasn't feeling it and at one point insisted on leaving. In the end, it was DeNiro that convinced Phoenix that everything was going to be just fine and the talk-through went ahead.
It seems that DeNiro always manages to get his way whether that is on or off-screen.
During the filming, the two actors worked well together although they didn't spend a lot of time in casual conversation. However, this was not due to malice or ill-will. According to DeNiro the two interacted as characters, did the job and then went home.
He says it makes life a lot simpler if you can stay in character and not get too involved in talking. As one of the greatest Hollywood actors of our time, it is certainly a technique that works.