Joaquin Phoenix lost so much weight for 'Joker' he started ‘to go mad’

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
Joaquin Phoenix walks the red carpet ahead of the "Joker" screening during the 76th Venice Film Festival. (Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

The first reactions to Joker have seemingly confirmed that the gritty and grounded comic-book film will be in the conversation when awards season finally rolls around.

One of the most lauded aspects of the film has been Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Arthur Fleck/Joker, with many suggesting that he is now the front-runner for the Best Actor Academy Award.

Phoenix has been opening up about his preparation to play the infamous villain, revealing that he lost 52 pounds to play the villain, doing so in such a short amount of time that it actually helped him get into the mindset of the character.

Read More: First 'Joker' reviews call it a ‘masterpiece,’ hail Joaquin Phoenix

"It turns out that affects your psychology. You start to go mad,” Phoenix told The Hollywood Reporter, before admitting that he also avoided past performances by Jack Nicholson, Cesar Romero, and even Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning work as the foe in The Dark Knight while developing the character.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker (credit: Warner Brothers)

"For me the attraction to make this film was we were going to approach it in our own way. I didn’t refer to any past iterations of [the Joker]. It just felt like our own creations, which was really important to me and the key to it."

Read More: 'Joker' director reveals 'hurdles' he faced making it R-rated film as final trailer lands

Phoenix also didn’t want to give Fleck any recognisable or specific mental health diagnosis, explaining, “He’s so hard to define and you don’t really want to define him.”

“We would get close at times where I found that I would identify certain parts of his personality or his motivation and then I would back away from that because I wanted there to be a mystery to the character."

We’ll finally get to see what Phoenix does when Joker is released on 4 October.