If there’s any subject talked about more right now than the impeachment inquiry, it may very well be Joker.
The movie has been a hot topic for weeks, thanks to its two buzzy trailers, before even opening in theaters. Online debate has raged around whether the movie validates and glamorizes incel-like violence. The film won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, but reviews have swayed between glowing to damning.
And nobody has had more to say about Joker than star Joaquin Phoenix, who portrays failed comedian-turned-villain Arthur Fleck.
Phoenix has sounded off on everything from controversy to his own on-set behavior. Strap in for the ride.
On Arthur’s incel-like qualities:
“There’s so many different ways of looking at it. You can either say here’s somebody who, like everybody, needed to be heard and understood and to have a voice. Or you can say this is somebody that disproportionately needs a large quantity of people to be fixated on him. His satisfaction comes as he stands in amongst the madness.” (Vanity Fair)
On the issue of the movie inciting violence:
“We’re making a movie about a fictional character in a fictional world, ultimately, and your hope is that people take it for what it is. You can’t blame movies for a world that is so fucked up that anything can trigger it. That’s kind of what the movie is about. It’s not a call to action. If anything it’s a call to self-reflection to society.” (VF)
On working with De Niro:
“I didn’t like to talk to him on set. The first day we said good morning, and beyond that I don’t know that we talked much.” (VF)
On the ‘joke’ outtake, where he rants at a cinematographer and storms off set, which was shown on Jimmy Kimmel Live:
“This is so embarrassing .... Sometimes movies get intense. You have a lot of people in a small space and you’re trying to find something. That was supposed to be private, I’m sorry you guys [the audience] had to see that.”
On his dancing scenes:
“I would get injured just from doing a light jog down the street. I’d have to be sent home.” (New York Times)
On losing 52 pounds for the role:
“It's a horrible, brutal diet but you get all the vitamins and minerals, so you're like safe. It's grotesque.” (USA Today)
More about the weight loss:
“Once you reach the target weight, everything changes. Like so much of what’s difficult is waking up every day and being obsessed over like 0.3 pounds. Right? And you really develop like a disorder. I mean, it’s wild. But I think the interesting thing for me is what I had expected and anticipated with the weight loss was these feelings of dissatisfaction, hunger, a certain kind of vulnerability and a weakness.
“But what I didn’t anticipate was this feeling of kind of fluidity that I felt physically. I felt like I could move my body in ways that I hadn’t been able to before. And I think that really lent itself to some of the physical movement that started to emerge as an important part of the character.” (Associated Press)
On how the role affected him mentally and emotionally:
“I don't know that you know how it changes you, or whether it does. But I certainly don't have any great actor stories about having nightmares or (stuff) like that. Honestly, I had so much fun making this.” (USAT)
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