Joaquin Phoenix begged Joker director to gain weight for role instead of losing it

Joaquin was done with losing weight for roles (Picture: Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)

With rave reviews already pouring in for his turn in Joker, Joaquin Phoenix has revealed he wanted a different body shape for the titular character – he wanted to gain weight, rather than lose it.

Because as he pointed out, losing weight for film roles sucks.

The 44-year-old actor ended up losing 52lbs to play the Clown Prince of Crime and Batman antagonist, previously admitting the psychological effect of losing so much weight started to send him mad.

Now, in the lead up to the film landing in UK cinemas next month, Joaquin admitted initially he hoped to get overweight for the role instead.

It just seemed like it would be easier, he said on the ReelBlend podcast.

The very first bit of research that I did was about medication and the side effects of medication and everybody on these boards was talking about these dramatic changes in their weight.



Whether it be putting on weight or losing weight. Theres something so f***ing tragic about taking a medication because you feel out of step with the world, and then you have these side effects that magnify that feeling.

Joaquin lost 52lbs for the role (Picture: WB)

When the Walk The Line actor approached director Todd Phillips with the idea of gaining weight – which was mainly because he hasnt enjoyed shedding it for other roles, and fair play to him – he was overruled.

Joaquin added: And so I just [said] to Todd “I think we need to have something that is drastic to kind of show this, and its based in reality and I think its really worth exploring.”

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And I suggested we put on weight because Ive done the losing-weight thing before, and it sucks! I was like, “I dont want to do that again!”

But Todd was really smart, and he said, “No, I really think its the other way.” And I knew it was going to be that way, but I just wanted to give it one little [shot].



Todds suggestion proved to be the right one, evidently, and Phoenix admitted the weight loss helped him connect with the character of Batmans great rival and his comedian alter ego Arthur Fleck.

He said: Arthur is somebody who is constantly searching for validation and acknowledgement and love. Like he just wants to consume peoples adoration. Its what he needs. And I think in some ways, I had that feeling.

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