Over the years Joaquin Phoenix has established himself as one of the best actors of his generation, like other actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio or Jake Gyllenhaal. In order to best interpret the roles entrusted to him, the American actor never hesitates to put his body to the test. And like Christian Bale, known for his impressive weight gain or loss, Joaquin Phoenix is adept at physical transformations for his film roles. This is, for example, what he agreed to do for the film Joker, directed by Todd Phillips.
Indeed, when the film was released in 2019, viewers were amazed by the performance and metamorphosis of Joaquin Phoenix. In the feature film, the 48-year-old actor revealed extreme thinness, revealing ribs and shoulder blades in relief. A perfect physique to transpose the complex psychology of Batman’s great rival, plagued by mental illness. To achieve this result, the actor had to lose no less than 23 kilos.
Joaquin Phoenix: “This weight loss affects your mind”
Joaquin Phoenix has thus imposed eight long months of preparation including four of drastic diet. “That way of life was awful,” the actor recalled, adding, “At first, I thought the Joker needed to be a little fleshier, but Todd Phillip said to me, ‘You’re going to have to play a really skinny character'”. An approach that is not without consequence, because like his character Arthur Fleck, Joaquin Phoenix had confided that he had almost lost his mind too. “This weight loss affects your mind. You start to panic when you lose so much weight”, explained the companion of Rooney Mara.
In order to lose weight quickly, the actor only ate one apple a day. “There was also lettuce and steamed green beans”, specified all the same the actor in the columns of Access magazine, while being reassuring about his health: “It’s something that I had done before, and I worked under the supervision of a doctor, in safety.”
But alongside this physical transformation, Joaquin Phoenix also had to take dance lessons to embody the Joker, while trying not to be influenced by the interpretation of his predecessors, including Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger. “When I started my research, I decided to do it my way. I learned dance and contortion, and I didn’t let myself be influenced by previous interpretations, nor by any comic. I had enough freedom to find my version of the Joker,” he told ABC. A choice that paid off because his performance was unanimously acclaimed by critics, winning the Oscar for best actor in 2020.
Joker © WARNER BROS