Joker score composer Hildur Gudnadottir was astonished that Joaquin Phoenix improvised scenes in real-time to her music.
The Icelandic musician, and classically trained cellist, reversed the usual practice of creating a soundtrack after filming – and penned most of her score before Joaquin and director Todd Phillips had even shot a scene.
“I fell in love with the film and wrote all the main themes before they started shooting, so they were able to use that music, and I was able to be a part of that,” she tells the BBC.
Revealing how the star ditched the script for one scene in the bathroom and started dancing, she adds: “Joaquin was basically responding in real-time to the music – the scene wasn’t scripted like this at all.
“The scene in the bathroom where he’s being led by the music and improvises a dance, it was just basically his reaction to hearing what I’d written.
“A lot of his performances that happened after that point were because that moment just worked so well, and the music really kind of supported him.”
Both Hildur and Joaquin are in contention for Academy Awards at the Oscars on Sunday (February 9, 2020) – with her soundtrack up for Best Original Score and Joker’s star up for Best Actor. The film received a leading 11 nominations in total.