Joaquin Phoenix Talks 'Joker,' Breakdancing Passion on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'

Declaring to the actor that he's a "mysterious man," the late-night host was determined to find out something new.
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Joaquin Phoenix

Following the Joker premiere in Los Angeles on Saturday, Joaquin Phoenix sat down on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! stage on Tuesday to chat with host Kimmel about his experience on the set and losing weight to play the deranged supervillain. The actor, known for being very private, even revealed something from his personal life — a hobby. 

Greeting Phoenix, Kimmel joked, "I saw Joker last night and I'm now scared of you, I have to say." The self-deprecating actor gave a small laugh, and Kimmel proceeded to tell him how muscular he's looking now, whereas in the movie he was very skinny. He asked what it was like to lose a significant amount of weight for a role, to which Phoenix replied, "It was difficult at times, but there's something empowering about it — having that level of control over yourself. In the beginning, you're exhausted. You look at a flight of stairs and have to talk yourself into it. Once you reach your target weight, you feel energized and excited."

Elaborating on how tricky it is to be disciplined, he said that he couldn't watch TV while trying to lose weight, "because commercials come on for food." He also added that he didn't go out to eat or drink with people. "You don't socialize."

When Kimmel jokingly asked Phoenix to give a spoiler, Phoenix said, "What's fun about this movie is it really keeps you guessing. I wouldn't want to ruin that for anybody." He then said that when his sisters saw it, they got into a heated discussion about what the movie was about and what it meant.

Moving onto a personal subject, Kimmel expressed to the actor, "You are a mysterious man. We don't know a lot about you. Is that intentional? Phoenix was quiet, but he threw it back to the late-night host and said that he doesn't know a lot about him either. In an attempt to learn something new, Kimmel asked Phoenix what the first movie was that he saw in the theater. Phoenix thought about it for a while, an answer at the tip of his tongue, before finally admitting that he couldn't remember.

Later in the interview, Kimmel uncovered that Phoenix enjoyed dancing when he was younger. "My forte was breakdancing," said the actor, who revealed that he never liked to perform in crowds, instead preferring to keep his hobby to himself.

Touching on the darkness of the film, Kimmel asked how it was to film such heavy material. Phoenix replied, "It was a light set. Todd [Phillips, the director] is really funny. I feel almost guilty, but we had a really good time."

The first reviews of the movie praised the "stunning, fearsome and highly physical performance" of Phoenix in the title role, and even predicted Oscar buzz for the actor.