This article contains spoilers from Joker.
Joker is an absolute bonafide masterpiece. And one of the best parts of the film happens somewhere in the second act. Early on in the film, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) bumps into Sophie (Zazie Beetz) in their apartment elevator. They form a romantic relationship and at one point, Arthur has sex with her (implied) after killing three dudes. Later in the film, though, it is revealed in a genuinely heart-stopping moment that the entire relationship was just a figment of Arthur’s mind.
Recently, THR got the chance to sit down with the actress who plays Sophie, Zazie Beetz to ask her about that scene among other things. When asked if there are any differences between the Sophie in Arthur’s mind and the real Sophie, Beetz said:
“That’s an interesting question. I think that Arthur’s Sophie is what he needs and what he wants. He’s placing that identity on Sophie because in their first encounter, Sophie simply acknowledges his existence. Throughout a big portion of the film, he’s trying to find his existence; he’s even questioning himself, ‘Am I even really here?’ Sophie is a person outside of his immediate circle of his mom and his work.
Having anybody outside of that just even say, ‘Here, we’re an equal. This sucks for the both of us, doesn’t it?’ is such a validating experience for him, especially coming from a woman, as he doesn’t have an opportunity to have any kind of romantic endeavors just due to his state. I think it means so much to him that he overemphasizes what it meant. The woman he has in his mind is, of course, different from the woman that she is. Realistically, I don’t think it would work between them.”
Beetz was also asked if she had a discussion with Joker director Todd Phillips on rewarding the viewer during a second viewing since the reveal would already be in viewers’ minds. She said:
We didn’t talk specifically about that. I think what’s interesting about Sophie is that she’s changed a lot from her original iteration in the script. As I was talking about at Sundance, we were finding that character as we were also finding Arthur. Joaquin and Todd were so playful in figuring it out and trying new things. Because they shot so quickly, we were able to fit more in and say, ‘Let’s throw in a new scene. Let’s try it this way; let’s try it that way.’
So, to find her in this iteration being partially a fantasy, we didn’t really talk much about the second viewing, but I feel like she’s a fruition of all these different versions we tested out and put the hats on of, before landing on this. I have my interpretation of it all, but I don’t know if I necessarily want to publicly share it. What makes it more interesting is dissecting your own version of it. But, no, I wouldn’t say we specifically, or overtly, talked about any Easter eggs to watch out for.