“A riveting, fully realized and Oscar-worthy performance by Joaquin Phoenix.” -Jim Vejvoda, IGN
There are countless reviews just like this one swirling around on the internet, as Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips’ Joker is receiving high praise for the portrayal of Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian who becomes increasingly disenfranchised with Gotham City and turns to a life of chaos.
Phillips he “wrote the movie for Joaquin,” despite whispers that Leonardo DiCaprio was in the mix at one point. While Phoenix was hesitant about jumping into the clown suit off the bat, the dude committed. Committed to the point of losing 52 pounds in a short period of time, a feat he claims impacted his psychology and made him go a bit mad.
In Phoenix’s new cover story for The New York Times, Joker writer and director Todd Phillips reveals the actor was so deadset on perfecting the role that he “lost his composure on the set, sometimes to the bafflement of his co-stars.”
James Gray, a director who’s collaborated with Joaquin on several films, has previously explained, “He will know it, and he will let you know it. You have to do your homework.” But for the Joker film, Phoenix was harder on himself than any of his co-stars.
“In the middle of the scene, he’ll just walk away and walk out,” Phillips said. “And the poor other actor thinks it’s them and it was never them — it was always him, and he just wasn’t feeling it.” And after taking a breather, he said, “we’ll take a walk and we’ll come back and we’ll do it.”
Robert De Niro co-stars in the film as successful late night talk show host named Murray Franklin, a man Phoenix’s character idolizes. De Niro told The Times that working with Phoenix was all business.
“Joaquin was very intense in what he was doing, as it should be, as he should be,” De Niro said. “There’s nothing to talk about, personally, on the side, ‘Let’s have coffee.’ Let’s just do the stuff.”
Warner Bros. is opening “Joker” in theaters nationwide October 4.