A lot of praise has been going to Joaquin Phoenix's performance in Joker, and people have been buzzing about how he lost 52 pounds to play his version of the Clown Prince of Crime. What's interesting is, Phoenix actually wanted his Joker to be a bit heftier, and it was director Todd Phillips who wanted Arthur Fleck to look gaunt and thin.
Talking to Fandango, Phillips explained:
"I think [Phoenix] didn't want the character to gain weight because I just think he didn't want to deal with the struggle of losing that much weight. So he came to me and he was like ‘Well what about the opposite? What if we just play him doughy and heavy and I'll gain a little weight,' and I said ‘No, I think it's really important that Arthur kind of looks and feels like a wolf. Like something malnourished and hungry.'"
Phillips also goes on to say that Phoenix actually lost more than he expected. Then again, they didn't really tell him to lose a specific amount of weight, they just needed Phoenix to be ‘really skinny.'
If anything, the body transformation is only half the job, and it's Phoenix's portrayal of Arthur that brings the character full circle. I haven't seen the movie yet, but everyone who has cannot stop raving about Phoenix's performance online.
Hopefully, general audiences will agree with critics when they catch Joker in theaters Oct. 4.