Matthew Morrison Drew Inspiration From Joaquin Phoenix's Joker For His Grinch

The Grinch is a holiday icon like no other, and over the years fans have received several versions of the character, each unique in their own way. The latest to join the Grinch legacy is Matthew Morrison, who will be bringing the character to life as part of NBC's latest live musical Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical, following in the footsteps of portrayals by Jim Carrey, Benedict Cumberbatch, and more. Morrison recently spoke to EW all about the famed character, and while he's quite experienced in theater and musicals, playing the Grinch is a whole other undertaking. That's why he looked for inspiration in a variety of interesting places, and as it turns out, that includes Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, though not perhaps in the way you might think.

Morrison revealed that one key scene in the film influenced his take on the character, which happened to be that memorable stairs scene. "I didn't want the Grinch to be a good dancer," Morrison told EW. "I took a lot from Joaquin Phoenix's performance in Joker, just going down those steps, like loose and [reveling in] abandon and just carefree and raw. I really felt like that was how the Grinch would dance. At first, I was like 'I don't think the Grinch dances'; it didn't feel very Grinch-y, but then I came up with that and it felt right."

For those who have seen Joker, thankfully that's the extent he draws from the film, so don't expect Grinch to go to the lengths Phoenix's Joker goes. to in the film. In fact, playing a character that is so curmudgeonly and outwardly mean is a bit different for Morrison, though he had a blast with it.

"I love playing dirty and dastardly. That's so much fun for me," Morrison said. "Most people know me from Glee, and so this is a joy for me to do. But also this part in particular is one of those parts where anything goes. You can really do anything you want to with this character, and it won't be too big or too over-the-top. Having not worked in nine months, I really just also had this deep appreciation for what I get to do for a living. To not be doing that for so long, I had this hunger to really put everything into my next project. Thankfully it was this one, because I took some big swings. I don't know if they're going to be great or horrible, but I just went for it, and it felt dangerous and liberating all at the same time."

Fans can watch Morrison in action when Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical airs on December 9th at 8 PM EST on NBC.

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