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'You Start to Go Mad'

VENICE, Italy-Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, the mentally-ill antagonist at the center of Todd Phillips's Joker is the most deranged version of the DC supervillain ever hit the screen.

"Phoenix Explained at the Venice Film Festival.

According to director Todd Phillips, he and Phoenix are six months prior to shooting to design the character, his look, and his laugh. But it was the actor's dramatic weight loss-a reported 52 pounds-that really made things click.

"The first thing for us was the weight loss – I think that's what I started with. And, as it turns out, that then affects your psychology. You start to go mad when you loose that amount of weight in that amount of time, "said Phoenix.

Another helpful aide in locating the character. "

There's a book that I read about assassins and would-be assassins that I thought was really interesting, and kind of breaks down the different types of personalities that do those things of things." fleck's journal / joke book, filled with his nihilistic musings on the many absurdities of life.

"Very early on in the rehearsal, I gave the journal that he had-his journal and joke diary. And that was really helpful, because I've been there for a couple of weeks and what I'm sure I'm going to start, and Todd sent this [empty] journal, "he recalled. "I did not know what to write, so I asked [Todd] for some suggestions, and after a few days, I ignored his suggestions and suddenly it was coming out.

Phillips engaged in a collaborative process where it became important to him to maintain the "mystery" of the character

And then there's the laugh-which in this Joker's case is an uncontrollable, hyena -like shriek, delivered at the most inopportune times.

" Ultimately, I think Joker is part of him that's trying to emerge, and I think that's a really interesting way to look at this … "

"Before I even read the script, Todd came over and talked through what he wanted out of this character, and he gave me some videos, as he said. "And so finally, I think Joker is a part of him that's trying to emerge, and I think that's a really interesting way to look at it … It feels like a new, fresh way of looking at it. But honestly, I did not think that I could do it. I laughed because I felt like I was on the spot and in front of somebody else. long time. "

Taxi Driver The King of Comedy ] Serpico and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest . But more than those, the 1

928 silent film The Man Who Laughs served as an important inspiration for director and star.

And though some may see the damaged spot as a "tragic" character, Phoenix begs to differ.

"I was interested in the light of Arthur for a better word," he said. "It was not just the torment; I am interested in and worth exploring. "

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