How Joaquin Phoenix lost all that weight for 'Joker'

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Joaquin Phoenix’s physical transformation for Joker was one of the most startling and eye-catching aspects of Todd Phillips’ hugely popular comic-book movie. 

The film’s co-writer and director has now provided some insight into how the Oscar nominated actor turned into the character, revealing that Phoenix only started to lose the weight just three months before shooting was due to begin. 

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“It was already like June and he hadn’t started [losing weight] and we start shooting in September,” Phillips recalls on the upcoming Blu-Ray for Joker, via Cinemablend. “And he’s like, 180 pounds. He wasn’t fat but we’re talking about getting to 125 pounds.”

But while Phillips was obviously a little concerned that Phoenix hadn’t lost the weight required in order to portray Arthur Fleck, the actor quickly convinced the filmmaker that he would be able to do so without the help of Warner Bros. 

Joaquin Phoenix's thin frame in Joker

“He goes ‘I got it, I got it.’ I go ‘You know we can hire a guy. I got this thing, this woman who’s a nutritionist, you might wanna…’ ‘No, no, that’s not how I do it.’ I go ‘How do you do it?’ He goes ‘I just stop eating and I starve myself.’ He just ate an apple a day for the whole summer.”

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Now, it should be pointed out that this is clearly a very dangerous approach to losing weight, especially since Phoenix is now 45-years-old. At the same time, though, this kind of dedication is exactly why Phoenix is regarded as one of the favourites for the Best Actor Academy Award. 

Phoenix is likely to go up against one or some of Christian Bale, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce, and Adam Driver at the Oscars, who he’ll vie with for the Best Actor in a Drama gong at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday January 5.