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'Joker' co-star says Joaquin Phoenix was 'f**king with his psyche' to play villain

Tom Beasley
Joaquin Phoenix in Todd Phillips' Joker. (Warner Bros.)

Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker co-star Douglas Hodge has said the leading man was “dangerously messing with his own happiness” in order to create his memorable performance.

The British actor portrays Wayne family butler Alfred Pennyworth in the film and said he believed Phoenix was “too thin”, having lost weight to portray failed stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck.

Hodge told The Guardian that Phoenix was “deep in character” on the set of Todd Phillips’ movie.

“I was only there a few days, and I was envious of how immersed he was,” he said.

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“He is essentially f**king about with his psyche. I mean, look at him. He’s dangerously messing with his own happiness.”

Douglas Hodge attends "The Report" European Premiere during the BFI London Film Festival on October 05, 2019. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

The 59-year-old added that he appreciated the “switch in perspective” provided by Joker in terms of the comic book universe.

He said: “If Batman could have the money to fund the Bat Cave and to fight crime, well, of course he’d have to be part of the one per cent.

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“They live on their hill and they don’t give a flying f**k about the rest of us.

“I thought the movie was magnificent, though Joaquin was probably too thin.”

Phoenix has previously admitted that he started to “go mad” because he lost so much weight in preparation for the role.

Warner Bros - Joaquin Phoenix as Joker.

Hodge is currently promoting his role in political thriller The Report as James Elmer Mitchell — one of the contractors hide by the CIA to develop controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the War on Terror.

He also appeared on the big screen earlier this year in Ang Lee’s visually ambitious sci-fi actioner Gemini Man.

Read more: How actors prepared to play Joker

Joker, meanwhile, is within touching distance of grossing $1bn (£776m) at the global box office and is easily the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time.

Phoenix has been talked about as a potential Oscar contender, though he faces a crowded Best Actor field against the likes of Adam Driver for Marriage Story, Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Robert De Niro for The Irishman.