Movies & TV

Joaquin Phoenix 'Started To Go Mad' After Losing Weight For Joker

Who knew that losing 52lbs would be bad for your mental health

The reaction to Joaquin Phoenix's performance as Arthur Fleck in Todd Miller's Joker has hit such wild heights of excitement and rhapsody that it sounds like he's managed to fundamentally redraw the parameters of actorly achievement.

Judging by some reviews it's not just an Oscar-gobbling performance, but so gripping that all existing Best Actor Oscar statuettes will have to be melted down to form one absolutely enormous statuette for Phoenix. Part of his transformation into Fleck was physical, with Phoenix dropping 52 pounds for the role and finding that it sent him a bit weird.

"It turns out that affects your psychology," Phoenix said at the Venice Film Festival. "You start to go mad."

Who knew! Phoenix also said that despite the long shadow cast by Heath Ledger's version of the character in The Dark Knight, he didn't look to any other Joker for direct inspiration.

"I didn't refer to any past iteration of the character," he said. "It just felt like something that was our creation in some ways.

"What was so attractive about this character for me is he's so hard to define. You don't really want to define him. Every day felt like we were discovering new aspects of his character... up until the very last day."

Photo by DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Phoenix also said he was keen not to attach Fleck's actions and mental state to any particular disorder or condition.

"I wanted the freedom to create something that wasn't identifiable. This is a fictional character. I didn't want a psychiatrist to be able to identify the kind of person he was."

This story originally appeared on edits have been made by the editors.

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