This story includes spoilers for 'Joker.'
Despite the highly divisive opinions behind Todd Phillips’ new film Joker, I think nearly everyone can agree that there were many bizarre moments throughout the film that you weren’t sure whether to laugh or cringe at. Honestly, it was a mixture of both during every single scene. Among these uncomfortable instances was one unexpected move from Joaquin Phoenix’s character, when he plants a wet kiss on a woman he’s just met.
The moment in question takes place when Arthur Fleck walks on stage at the Murray Franklin Show, greeting the host (played by Robert De Niro) and the fellow guests on the segment. When he says hello to an elderly woman also on the show, he shockingly kisses her on the lips, and holds it there for far too long. Everyone is clearly surprised, but tries to laugh it off, unaware of what violent events are about to unfold.
While the kiss sparked laughs and confusion from both characters in the film and people watching it, it might have a deeper meaning. ComicBook.com draws comparison to a real-life interview former Joker actor Heath Ledger once did, claiming this scene in the movie must be a reference to it.
Fans of Ledger will likely remember one particularly strange video that went viral during press for The Dark Knight back in 2008, in which an excited elderly woman interrupts an interview when she sees the actor, and starts screaming. Ledger is a good sport about it, laughing, but then decides to kiss her on the mouth. Of course, the woman faints on the floor, making for just about one of the weirdest fan encounters ever (caught on camera, at least).
A DC fan account hilariously posted the video, adding the caption: “Sorry for posting this #Joker spoiler.”
We’re going to need confirmation from Phillips if the unexpected kiss in his new film was a nod to the late and great Ledger, or if this is just a super weird coincidence. We’re hoping for the former.
This article also appears on Mental Floss.