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Arthur Fleck shirtless in Joker

It's no secret that superhero movies are everywhere. Comic Book adaptations have quickly become the most popular and profitable genre in the film world, and plenty of studios are getting in on the action with their own cinematic universes. While the tough competition can help sink projects like Dark Phoenix, there are other movies that stand out and bring something wholly unique to the table. Todd Phillips' Joker looks like just that, and it turns out that Joaquin Phoenix went through a serious physical transformation to play protagonist Arthur Fleck.

Joaquin Phoenix will make his comic book movie debut with Joker, playing the title character during the psychological origin story. Phoenix is an Oscar nominee who has proven his dedication to the craft over his long career. But it turns out that he also lost a ton of weight to play the iconic villain. Specifically, a whopping 52 pounds.

This is no small sum weight, and Joaquin Phoenix must have had a drastic diet and exercise plan in order to drop so much weight. Director Todd Phillips offered the sum during an interview with LA Times, showing just how dedicated Phoenix was to his role in Joker. The trailers show how fascinating and grounded his performance is in the highly anticipated drama, and that transformation was both mental and physical.

The final trailer for Joker only recently arrived, showing off tons of new footage and a closer look at the upcoming movie's plot. Joaquin Phoenix's body does look like an entirely different one than we've seen in projects like Walk The Line or Her. The 44 year-old actor's back show show off his spine and bones, and his ribs are on full display as well.

This all helps to build the world of Joker, and the dark reality of Arthur Fleck's life. Life in 1981 Gotham City has not been kind to the movie's protagonist, as he's shown constantly beat down in every sense of the word. While taking care of his ailing mother (Frances Conroy) and living in squaller, Arthur tries in vein to become a comedian. And when he's mocked on TV by Robert De Niro's Murray Franklin, something appears to snap in his mind.

It's unclear exactly how Joaquin Phoenix's character will eventually become Gotham's Clown Prince of Crime, but we've seen bits and pieces of that journey through the movie's trailer, in addition to the actor's new physique. It's not uncommon for actors to make huge physical transformation for roles, especially if they have the potential to have legs come Awards Season. Comic book movies got a handful of noms last year, so perhaps Phoenix will once again be recognized by the Oscars and Golden Globes.

The performance can be seen in full when Joker arrives in theaters October 4th, following premiers at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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