Joaquin Phoenix Talks About His Dramatic Weight Loss For Joker And Finding His Laugh

The upcoming Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix is one of 2019’s most-anticipated films. Phoenix physically transformed himself for the role, losing a dramatic amount of weight, and now the actor has shared more insight on that and other interesting elements of the film.

Speaking at Joker’s Venice Film Festival premiere, Phoenix said losing an estimated 52 pounds in a short amount of time allowed him to perform scenes in a different, more emotional way. “It turns out that [losing a lot of weight very quickly] affects your psychology. You start to go mad,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Phoenix, who has earned three Academy Award nominations, also spoke about Joker as a character in general and how the experience of filming changed over time.

“It was his struggle to find happiness and to feel connected and to feel warmth and love, and that’s the part of the character I was interested in,” he said. “He was so many different things to me. Who he was in the first few weeks of shooting was completely different than who he was in the end. He was constantly evolving. I’ve never had an experience like this. The more unpredictable and looser we left it, the more exciting it was.”

Phoenix also shared more insight on Joker’s iconic laugh in the movie. For his part, Phoenix said he struggled with getting it to a place that he was happy with.

“I didn’t think that I could do it,” he said. “I kind of practiced alone but I asked [director Todd Phillips] to come over to audition my laugh. I felt like I had to be able to do it on the spot and in front of somebody else. It was really uncomfortable. It took me a long time.”

In addition to Phoenix in the title role, the movie stars Robert de Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Frances Conroy. Joker is something of a change for writer-director Todd Phillips, who previously made the Hangover and Old School comedies. He also wrote for Borat, which earned him his Oscar nomination.

GameSpot’s review of Joker scored it a 10/10. Reviewer Michael Rougeau said Phoenix turns in an “iconic” performance as the clown price of crime as he delivers a “new, complex version of the character we haven’t seen before.” For a wider look at Joker’s critical reception, check out this roundup of Joker reviews.

Following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Joker hits theatres widely on October 3.