“Develop Like a Disorder”: Joaquin Phoenix A.K.A., the Joker Faced Shocking Side-Effects of an Extreme Body Transformation for a $1 Billion Box Office Hit (2019)

Hollywood bodybuilding transformations have become quite common. Due to the popularity of the superhero genre, actors who play such roles often go through dramatic fitness transformations. Most of the time, leading men put on muscle while getting shredded for their roles. However, in Joker (2019), leading man Joaquin Phoenix did the opposite and lost weight to play the Batman villain in the $1 billion box-office phenomenon.

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The Oscar-winning method actor prefers getting into character and staying in the character’s mindset for the duration of filming. Hence, when Todd Phillips told the actor to lose some weight to play Joker, Phoenix immediately went on a diet. However, the method actor took it to the extreme. In a 2019 interview with ET Canada, he opened up about some unanticipated side effects of the shocking weight-loss transformation.

Joaquin Phoenix didn’t anticipate some changes


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Going through a physical transformation for a role wasn’t new to the Gladiator actor. During his interview, the actor said he had worked with a doctor during his transformation for Joker. The 48-year-old knew the doctor, and the duo had worked together. Hence, he knew what to expect from his body after losing significant weight. “It’s just a really calorie-restrictive diet,” said Phoenix.

However, he mentioned a “strange” side effect of losing so much weight. The Oscar winner said a person gets “obsessed over, like, three pounds,” difference in their weight once they reach the required target. According to the actor, even such a small deviation makes one feel displeased. “You really develop like a disorder. I mean, it’s wild,” he told ET Canada.

Since he lost and gained weight for roles, Phoenix “anticipated” he would feel “dissatisfaction, hunger, a certain kind of vulnerability, and a weakness.” However, the Beau is Afraid actor didn’t think his body would acquire a “kind of fluidity.” Phoenix said he started moving his body in ways he couldn’t imagine before losing weight for Joker. Phoneix’s Joker co-star recently explained just how extreme the actor’s weight loss was.

The actor adopted an extreme diet

Recently, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker co-star Bryan Callen appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience. The actor recounted working with the Oscar winner. He recounted that when Phoenix first met Todd Phillips, he weighed around 180 lbs. However, after Phillips told him to lose weight before the filming began, Phoenix lost 50 lbs.


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“Joaquin, I think, showed up at 124 pounds,” Callen told Rogan. “He just ate an apple and smoked cigarettes,” recalled Callen. Bryan Callen also recalled how the method actor improvised in several scenes, some of which made it to the final cut.

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While Phoneix suffered various anticipated and unanticipated side effects, his hard work paid off. Joker was a critical and commercial hit, becoming the most profitable comic book film in history. It also earned him an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG Award, and more.


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