Joker: Joaquin Phoenix Reportedly Lost 52 Pounds Prior to Filming

Warner Bros. released a new trailer for DC's Joker on Wednesday and in watching it, fans may have noticed just how fully star Joaquin Phoenix embraced his role as failed stand-up comedian who ultimately becomes the villain Joker. Specifically, they may have noticed a significant bit of weight loss on Phoenix's part -- 52 pounds to be exact.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, director Todd Phillips explained that Phoenix lost 52 pounds prior to shooting while Phoenix explained that the idea of creating Joker as a complex character as opposed to a "cartoon villain" is part of what drew him to the role.

"That's really the only thing that's worthwhile; the other thing is connect-the-dots and paint-by-numbers, and who the [heck] cares about that?" Phoenix said. "There are certain areas of the character that frankly still aren't clear to me, and I'm fine with that. There's something enjoyable about not having to answer a lot of those questions. It requires a certain amount of participation from the audience that feels different."

Joker follows the story of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a failed stand-up comedian who descends into madness, reinventing himself as the villain in a corrupt Gotham City. The two trailers for the eagerly-anticipated film have both shown just how unique the film's approach to the character is, something made more interesting considering that Phillips has previously explained that they aren't sourcing things from the comic books.

“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about,” Phillips explained in a previous interview. “We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”

“I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre," Phoenix said in an interview last year. "I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more than anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea."

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Upcoming DC movies include Joker on October 4th, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.