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Joaquin Phoenix Opens Up to ‘Extra’ About ‘Joker’ and His Late Brother, River

Joaquin Phoenix Opens Up to ‘Extra’ About ‘Joker’ and His Late Brother, River

Joaquin Phoenix is already getting Oscar buzz for his title role in the highly anticipated film, “Joker.”

Phoenix sat down with “Extra’s” Renee Bargh and opened up about the film, as well as the moving speech he gave about his late brother, River Phoenix, at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In the speech, Joaquin said River brought him back to acting. The star joked with Renee at first, saying, “First of all, I had somebody write that. I farmed that out to somebody online... it's called emotionalpersonalspeeches.com.” He laughed, saying, “You just send… it was in the 'prompter… and I read it and that was that.”

Getting serious, he continued, “I started acting when I was very young, and as I became a teenager, I wasn't interested in the roles that were available to teenagers at that time, or maybe available to other actors and they just weren't coming my way, and so… I just had grown kind of disinterested in it and, um, I think he gave me a lot of confidence and was just insistent that that was something I was going to do.” Joaquin went on, “It was hard to deny it, he seemed so certain, and yeah, it just gave me the confidence to pursue it.”

The three-time Oscar nominee received an eight-minute standing ovation in Venice for his "Joker" performance. “Yeah, it's awkward," he said, "because you don't know what to do.” Being modest, he added, “It's a long time, and it's unnecessary, but, you know.”

Joaquin lost 52 lbs. to get into the character of the Joker, and spoke about how hunger and deprivation played a role in portraying the villain.

“I love studying, I love research, I love reading books... but there's something about actually feeling something that nothing else really comes close to.”

He explained, “You're in a perpetual state of hunger and in some ways there is a hunger for adoration that he craves. He's somebody that is in need and wants to consume and have, so I think I didn't really know it going in that it was going to be such an important part of the character.”

The actor also nailed the Joker’s sinister laugh, saying, “What's great about making movies is you get a lot of chances to try and get something right… so you do 10 takes. Maybe, if you were lucky, for me, I would get one that would work… but I don't think I ever nailed it.”

“Joker” opens in theaters October 4.