Joker Movie Director Reveals What Joaquin Phoenix Is Really Like On and Off Set

One of the most praised performances of 2019 came from Joaquin Pheonix in Joker and, while his on-screen persona was intense, director Todd Phillips confirms that the actor's attitude when the cameras weren't rolling was completely different from his villainous persona. Phoenix has been delivering captivating performances for decades, which would make some audiences think he can easily carry over some of those frightening personas into his real life, but the director pointed out that this couldn't be further from the truth and that Phoenix knows exactly when to channel that inner ferocity and when to leave it behind.

"To inhabit the character of Arthur/Joker in the movie, he had to go to some pretty dark places and people always ask me, 'Does he stay like that off set?'" Phillips shared on Good Morning America. "On this film, my only experience with him is only on this film, and, no. We would say, 'Cut,' and be off to the side and joking around or laughing about something and then we'd get back into it. He's really intense as an actor, but as a guy on set, he was actually kinda light."

Between his roles in Joker, Gladiator, and You Were Never Really Here, it's easy to see how audiences would assume he always has that on-screen intensity, with Phillips' comments confirming that he's just that talented of an actor that he can make such powerful performances seem effortless.

Phoenix has already earned the Golden Globe and SAG Awards for his performance in the film, which also earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, with his previous accomplishments making him a frontrunner for the prize. In addition to Phoenix earning praise, audiences also strongly connected with the film, as it went on to earn more than a billion dollars worldwide.

While the film was crafted under the notion of it being a standalone adventure, Phillips previously revealed he and Phoenix aren't ruling out a follow-up film.

"When a movie does $1 billion and cost $60 million to make, of course it comes up," Phillips previously confirmed to Deadline. "But Joaquin and I haven’t really decided on it. We’re open. I mean, I’d love to work with him on anything, quite frankly. So who knows? But it would have to have a real thematic resonance the way this one did, ultimately being about childhood trauma and the lack of love, and the loss of empathy. All those things are really what made this movie work for us, so we’d have to have something that had an equal thematic resonance."

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Find out if Phoenix wins the Oscar on February 9th.

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