– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Whenever people think of extreme measures actors take to inhabit their roles, chances are they think of the likes of Christian Bale, who famously loses and gains tens of pounds in order to take on roles. Perhaps most notably was his role in The Machinist, which he lost 62 pounds for (bringing his total weight to 120 pounds).

While the work Joaquin Phoenix did in losing weight for Joker may not be THAT extreme, there’s no doubt he’s gone way over the call to action to bring us a fittingly twisted Arthur Fleck, and that includes his apparent weight loss. According to THR, he actually lost 52 pounds to take on the role.

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“It turns out that affects your psychology. You start to go mad,” Phoenix told the outlet. And, speaking of psychology…what’s the deal with Joker anyway? It’s very clear, based on the trailers, that he has some mental demons he’s dealing with, but what sort of illnesses did Phoenix look at? Apparently, they shied away from giving him an actual diagnosis. Mystery has always been a key aspect of Joker’s character, and I know plenty of fans were worried that would be lost in this film, but it seems as though Phoenix and director Todd Phillips were at least aware of this aspect of his appeal.

“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.”

“Throughout the course of shooting it felt like every day we were discovering new parts of his personality, up until the very last day. 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 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.”

I know a lot of fans were concerned by the character losing that air of mystery about him, and while we’ll undoubtedly be learning more than ever before about him in the upcoming film, it does sound like both the director and lead truly understand how important it is that some aspects remain a secret.

What do you think of Phoenix’s comments? Let us know down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.