March 10, 2018
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Photograph: Richard Saker for the Guardian / Source: The Guardian – Published on 8 Mar 2018.

The actor is back with another no-holds-barred performance in his new movie, You Were Never Really Here. He talks about his unorthodox childhood, playing Jesus – and the toll Hollywood’s ‘rampant’ abuse culture takes on everybody.

Joaquin Phoenix blows into London at the same time as the snow, like a competing weather front, talking up a blue streak. Outside, the flakes are flying and the temperature is below zero. Inside, he is preaching peace, love, tolerance and understanding – and it is all I can do to get a word in edgeways. My questions sit unread on my lap; the publicist hovers anxiously at the door. Who’s going to stop him? Who has the clout? When the man’s on a roll, it’s difficult to say: “Cut!”

“Just be in the moment,” Phoenix advises at one point. “Don’t overthink it, let it be what it is. If you keep trying to find what’s unique in the moment, then the danger is that you miss that very thing.” I think he’s talking about the craft of film acting. He may be talking about life.

Phoenix has been a turbulent screen presence for so many years that it is startling to realise that he is only 43. He has played dented Johnny Cash, the depraved emperor Commodus, an introverted lonely heart in Spike Jonze’s Her and a raging, rough beast in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Some great actors are deliberate and precise, but Phoenix is at his best when he seems on the outer edge of control; when he threatens to break loose from the picture and bring the scenery crashing about his ears. The man goes at things freestyle, for better or worse. He says: “The great thing about film is that you get to make mistakes.”

On his latest film, You Were Never Really Here, he has found a kindred spirit in the British film-maker Lynne Ramsay – another wild talent who sometimes courts disaster. Ramsay bashed out the script on spec, at speed, after bailing out of another movie (Jane Got a Gun) on the first day of production. She tells me she wrote the lead role with Phoenix expressly in mind. “Stuck his picture above the computer, as though I could telepathically put him in my film.” Sure enough, the actor materialised on set having never met her before. “He’s instinctual and unpredictable,” Ramsay says. “The range of stuff that he gave me … I could have made several other completely different films.”

As it is, her picture is roiling and delirious; a missing-person thriller spun violently on its head. Phoenix plays Joe, a traumatised former soldier on a mission to retrieve a trafficked teenager. He says he did some research – spoke to an ex-military guy who does similar work. Mainly, though, he followed his gut. “Lynne sent me an audio file of Fourth of July fireworks. She said: ‘That’s what’s happening inside Joe’s head.’ That’s one thing that really clicked for me.”

So forget about Joe; how about playing Jesus? In Mary Magdalene – a revisionist take on the gospels released later this month – Phoenix co-stars as the messiah alongside his girlfriend, Rooney Mara, who plays Mary Magdalene. Surely this was a role that required some rigorous research? There’s a lot of material to wade through about Jesus.

He shrugs, unconcerned. “Lots of material. Lots of conflicting material. But, in the end, it’s a character. And, as with all characters, whether it’s Johnny Cash or whoever, you have to make it about a man; about his personal experience. And for Jesus, what makes his death such a sacrifice is that he didn’t want to die. This was a man who wanted to continue the experience of living, just as we all do. So it was important to me to find those human qualities.”


March 8, 2018
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Illustration by ANA GODIS. / Source: – Published in March 7, 2018.

It’s a headfuck trying to reconcile Joaquin Phoenix with his character in You Were Never Really Here. The former is at pains to joke and pierce the idea that acting is a serious job. The latter, Joe, is just piercingly in pain. Like a bleeding warhorse with arrows protruding from his side, he lumbers on rescuing underage girls from New York brothels, killing those in his way with a whack from his weapon of choice: a hammer.

Phoenix was the only actor Ramsay wanted. She moved the production forward to fit his schedule. In return, she got a performance of trauma that seeps out of the frame and into the audience’s bones. Phoenix is so sought after partially because he loads quiet reactions into extremely physicalised characters. Joe is muscular but running to flab. He is powerful but slowed down by violent memories that won’t quit. Phoenix occupies this physique with searing pathos, and (to his surprise) he won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017.

LWLies: This is a very brutal part. Does it take you time to get into it or is it something you can switch on?

Phoenix: I started working out two months before we started shooting. When you’re preparing for something, it’s all you think about. Like, right now I’m getting ready to do The Sisters Brothers [by Jacques Audiard]. I was just taking a walk along the water, and found myself saying lines out loud. But sometimes you show up and then you’re eating a fucking sandwich and bullshitting with the director, then you go and do the scene and at some point, if you’re lucky and if you’ve done the work, it’s easy to kind of slip into. Sometimes it’s not! Sometimes you get there and you do a couple of takes and you go, ‘Fuck, I couldn’t care less about this. I’m not feeling this.’ So I’d talk with Lynne, go through the story, skim through the script again, and think about, ‘Okay, what’s led to this moment?’ and hopefully you find it. But it’s not always there.

What drew you to Lynne Ramsay?

I was talking to Darius Khondji, a cinematographer who I’ve worked with a couple of times, trying to find what to do next. I said, ‘Who are the good directors that you like?’ He said ‘Lynne Ramsay’. Then, a couple of weeks later by chance, Jim Wilson, who’s the producer, who I’ve known for 20 years, he called me and said, ‘I’m doing this thing with Lynne, do you want to meet and talk to her about it?’

Do you know why you gravitate towards projects that are all-consuming?

I guess because it’s enjoyable, right, to work hard. I don’t even know if I work hard. This is bullshit. Maybe I don’t even like that. I don’t know what I like. I just say shit, man! I just say things. At its best every once in a while – and sometimes it’s one take for the entire movie and sometimes it never happens – there’s a fucking feeling that you get. I imagine you can get it in anything you do. If you play sports, or maybe if you’re writing something and trying to figure something out, and a sentence comes together fucking perfectly and you go, ‘Where did that come from? It just happened!’

It’s such an exciting feeling. You feel it all through your body. It’s so joyful. I’m always hunting for that feeling. I love that moment. It’s worth all the days when you search and nothing happens and you feel like, ‘I’m just fucking… this is terrible…’ You have that one moment where, I don’t know what it is, you’re just in your flow and that usually happens, when you work hard at something and you’re really dedicated to it. The times where I go, ‘Ah this is an easy scene, no big deal’ are always really dissatisfying and I regret it. So, I always look to work with people that are pushing themselves, and pushing me, because it’s more enjoyable, and you have a chance to touch that thing, whatever the fuck that is.


February 26, 2018
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Joaquin Phoenix is adding some mystery to the report that he’ll be starring as the Joker in Todd Phillips’ standalone movie for Warner Bros. Variety reported earlier this month that Phoenix was the top choice for the role and that he was in talks to star as the beloved comic book villain. However, Phoenix appears clueless about the report in a new video interview with French publication Allocine.


January 22, 2018
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Joaquin Phoenix is opening up about his decision to work with Woody Allen, joining the chorus of actors who have recently distanced themselves from the filmmaker amid renewed allegations of abuse by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow.

Phoenix, 43, co-starred with Emma Stone in Allen’s critically panned crime drama Irrational Man, released in July 2015. The film was shot the previous summer in Newport, R.I. — months after The New York Times’ publication of Farrow’s open letter, when she accused Allen in writing of sexually assaulting her when she was 7. (The allegation, which the director has repeatedly denied, first surfaced in 1992.)

“When I worked with Woody, I knew about the stuff that had come up years ago,” Phoenix told USA TODAY during an interview Sunday evening at Sundance Film Festival. “I know his daughter ended up writing an open letter. I was not aware of that when we worked together.

“If you were a part of supporting something with someone that did, in fact, cause pain, how the (expletive) would you feel? You’d feel (expletive),” Phoenix continued. “I don’t know the specifics. I’m not a person who reads entertainment stuff at all — I avoid it completely, so a lot of times I’ll hear about things when I’m doing press and (journalists will) inform me about things. But if that is the case, then I’d feel (expletive).”

Phoenix, who stars in two films playing at Sundance this year (Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot and You Were Never Really Here), says he feels “optimistic” about the change instigated so far by #MeToo.

“There are things that we have considered normal forms of behavior, and that doesn’t mean it’s OK,” Phoenix told USA TODAY. “It’s an opportunity for everyone to start addressing that, so how could you not be excited about that prospect? And certainly, just selfishly in film, we’ve obviously run out of stories, because we have to keep remaking the same stories over and over. The idea that we are going to have — at least for most people — this new perspective? How that’s going to enrich film is amazing.”

The actor also dismisses suggestions by fellow actors including Liam Neeson and Matt Damon that there is a “witch hunt” around sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood, or that there is a “spectrum” of sexual violence.

“Legally, there is a difference between when you call someone a racial epithet and punch them in the mouth,” Phoenix said. “But they come from the same place, so it is a problem. Whether it’s just a new language or a new action, it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

He believes many men are ignorant about the verbal and physical harassment women can face on a regular basis.

“Guys will go, ‘I didn’t really mean anything by it,’ but they don’t know that woman experiences (harassment) several times throughout the week, so it is compounded,” Phoenix said. “Sometimes for women, it becomes so normalized that they haven’t talked about it and how it makes them feel. They’re just like, ‘Ugh, it’s something you have to deal with.’ But now people are like, ‘No. Whether that was the normal form of behavior, that’s not how we’re going to move forward.’ And who wouldn’t be excited about that kind of change?

“It’s an exciting, radical time, but I know it’s been a very painful time, too, so I have to acknowledge that,” he added. “But I do think (the #MeToo movement is) changing things in a really amazing way.”


September 20, 2015
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1 How do you fill the gaps between movies?
I have a pretty simple, boring life. When I’m not working, I love thinking about nothing at all.

2 You hate watching yourself. Have you seen your latest, Irrational Man?
I haven’t. Paul Thomas Anderson [the director] got me to watch The Master, and I saw Her. Those are the only two I’ve seen. I thought I might be mature enough to watch and learn, but it’s still something I struggle with.

3 What kind of film do you still want to make?
I still feel like I haven’t done what’s motivated me since I was young. And time is running out. At the rate I’m going, it’s maybe eight movies more by the time I’m 50. I think 30 to 45 are probably the best years for an actor.

4 Do you have a rep for being a bit awkward?
I’m not being difficult. I’m just trying to find what works for me.

5 Was working with Woody Allen on Irrational Man a no-brainer?
I always liked him as an actor. He never asks for the audience’s sympathy. I always want to do it, but I think I fail.


September 6, 2015
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The American actor has a wide range of parts under his belt, impressing in movies such as Her, Walk the Line and The Master. He has a reputation for fully embracing his movie alter egos on the big screen and would rather a smaller, character-driven project than a blockbuster – although he doesn’t totally shun the idea anymore.

“Sure. When I was younger I was probably a bit of a snob about that. But they’ve gotten better. I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d be really fulfilling,” Joaquin explained to British magazine Time Out when asked if he’d consider a franchise like Star Wars.

For Joaquin, it would feel as though he was abandoning his instincts for such a part and having been “spoiled” with jobs in the past, he has no plans to compromise.

However the star does enjoy watching these features and respects those who are involved.

“Did you see the rebooted Star Trek? That kid Chris Pine who plays Kirk is f**king genius. I just don’t know if I want to have the experience of being in them,” Joaquin mused. “I’ve read some of those scripts and 75 per cent is a description of some asteroid going through space.”

His current project is Woody Allen’s Irrational Man, in which he plays a tormented philosophy professor opposite Emma Stone. Since it wrapped last summer, Joaquin’s career has taken a quiet turn, but he doesn’t feel obliged to fill his spare time.

“I don’t do much of anything. I have a pretty simple, boring life,” he shrugged. “Stupid little hobbies aren’t worth talking about! When I’m not working, not preparing for anything, I love having to think about nothing at all.”


July 26, 2015
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Joquin Phoenix had just claimed his first victim of the day, or so it seemed when an angry interviewer emerged from the actor’s hotel room.

“How did it go?” asked the publicist coordinating media coverage of Woody Allen’s new film, “Irrational Man,” in which Phoenix plays the lead role.

“How do you think it went?” snapped the interviewer, shoving his recorder and notepad into his satchel. “It’s Joaquin Phoenix.”

Phoenix, 40, is never easy — in person or on screen. The same reticent and enigmatic behavior that makes him look like a hostage on the red carpet renders him a natural for the messed-up, hard-to-play roles that would flatten most of his Hollywood peers.

Minutes after irritating his last interviewer, Phoenix welcomed me with a big, overzealous hug: a standard greeting in Hollywood yet unnerving coming from him. “You haven’t changed a day!” he effused, referring to our last interview more than 15 years ago.

Did we mention he’s unpredictable?

“OK, I’m kidding,” he said, breaking character, his bubbly demeanor giving way to a more familiar coolness. “I don’t remember our interview at all. She reminded me,” he said, indicating his longtime publicist. “But it was probably hard, right?”

In the aptly titled “Irrational Man,” which opened in limited release this past weekend, Phoenix plays a jaded philosophy professor who’s lived through enough tragedy to know that life will yield little joy from here on out. Abe drinks and recites Kierkegaard by day, drinks and sleeps with his much younger student by night (the latter plot now a queasily familiar dynamic in many Allen films). But even the adoring company of Jill (Emma Stone) isn’t enough to make him truly feel again. He’s searching for anything that will validate his life, even if it means taking someone else’s.

“I’ve been very fortunate where I’ve only made movies recently — except for one — where I felt like I had to do it,” said Phoenix of the quirky roles he’s taken since returning from a self-imposed acting hiatus a few years ago. “It wasn’t ‘I want to do this film.’ It was, ‘I’ll do anything for this. I’ll battle anybody. Give me a shot.’ I want to experience it more, and reading it isn’t enough. I want to magnify that and see the full expanse of that feeling, how much of it can there be.”

It’s with that passion that the former child actor has brought countless tortured souls to life over the past two decades, such as the hapless teen murderer in “To Die For,” the dark and conflicted Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line” and the lonely writer who falls for a computer operating system in “Her.”

“Everything you give him to do or say becomes interesting because of this complexity he naturally projects,” Allen has said of the actor. “There’s something going on in there all the time.”

Phoenix contends there’s no real methodology to the roles he chooses — or the parts he’s chosen for. “I think a majority of my career has been luck. I’m available, and the other guys aren’t. It’s like, ‘Thank God Christian Bale isn’t working, thank God Leonardo’s working on something else.'”

Wearing worn Converse sneakers, jeans and T-shirt, Phoenix in every way seems to say, “I’m relaxed,” though he’s cautious about making too much eye contact. The more we talk about Allen, however, the more animated he becomes.

“I’ve always admired him, but I don’t think people appreciate Woody as an actor,” said Phoenix, who reels off the names of various Allen films before referring to a particularly difficult scene in “Love and Death.” “Most actors would play that scene wearing so much regret on their faces, trying to show, ‘Hey, I’m a sympathetic character.’ He played it sincere and straight.

“I feel I’m guilty of trying too hard to make sure you understand. That’s the thing I hate most in acting — my acting.”

Ironically, Phoenix is that rare talent who conveys so much without saying a word. At the same time, he’s able to keep audiences guessing about what’s underneath that troubled exterior. It’s a combination that has been exhausting (that Letterman interview) yet intriguing enough to lend a unique longevity to his career.

Phoenix, of course, doesn’t see it. And why would he, since he says he barely, if ever, watches the films he’s in? “Not too long ago I was flipping through the movie channels and there was a movie [I was in] that I’d never seen,” he said. “I watched it, and I was garbage. It just felt like I was working. I saw so much acting. I was really embarrassed by it.”

The first and last movie of his that he’s deliberately seen over the past decade is 2012’s “The Master,” and only because director Paul Thomas Anderson told him to “‘man up!,” recalled Phoenix with a laugh. “It was so crushing. I was like, ‘OK, you’re right. I should be able to watch it and not be a … coward and just go, ‘Oh, that did or didn’t work.’ I manned up for a little bit,” he said with a shrug, “and then I didn’t have the courage to finish it. I turned it off.”

Phoenix was born in Puerto Rico, then moved around South America with his family, which was part of the religious group the Children of God. His parents left the group in the late ’70s and moved to California with the kids to pursue acting careers for the children. There he eventually began to land small roles along with his siblings River, Rain, Summer and Liberty (Joaquin once went by the name Leaf).

Phoenix’s childhood film roles include “Space Camp” and Ron Howard’s “Parenthood.” His older brother River paved the way, however, in films such as “Stand by Me” and “My Own Private Idaho.” A teenage Joaquin was with River when he overdosed and died in 1993. Joaquin’s 911 call was replayed by the press in the weeks that followed, marking the beginning of his tense relationship with the media and fame.

His critical breakthrough came in 1995’s “To Die For,” when Phoenix masterfully played a stoned, working-class teen seduced by the local TV weather lady (Nicole Kidman). He went on to become an acclaimed performer in such blockbusters as “Gladiator” and “Walk the Line.”

But it was Phoenix’s behavior in a 2009 interview with David Letterman that revealed yet another side of the actor. He mumbled non-sequitur answers from behind sunglasses and a shaggy Unabomber beard (Phoenix later said he was acting for the mockumentary “I’m Still Here,” directed by his brother-in-law, Casey Affleck).

Phoenix became the butt of several late-night jokes before going on his short hiatus from acting, though he contends it was a breakthrough moment for him.

“That experience is definitely in the top five — or maybe the best — acting experience I ever had,” he said. “I learned to let go, partly because there was no time to make a choice. You were live in the moment and the other people didn’t know that it was [for a film]. It was so liberating. It helped me stop making so many conscious decisions.”

Planning and deliberation, however, played a large part in how Phoenix approached his role as Abe in “Irrational Man.” He is not a stand-in for Allen, as other of the director’s leading men have clearly been.

“There were some bits of dialogue that it was an effort for me not to sound like him,” said Phoenix. “Plus, I’m so familiar with him. There’s almost a temptation to do it. I grew up with my sisters mimicking him. There’s a certain rhythm to his dialogue that makes it very easy to fall into that Woody Allen-esque way of speaking. But I didn’t think it would serve the movie. I played it different.”

Phoenix knows audiences will likely be looking to glean insight into who he is through his role as Abe. But by now, he’s used to it. “I don’t know why people try to analyze me through my roles … or maybe I do,” he said. “I’ve seen performances where I’m like, ‘Whoa! I wonder what [that unfortunate actor] went through.’ However you want to think about it is up you, but I’m not sticking around to listen to it.”

January 9, 2015
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January 4, 2015
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This may surprise you, but Joaquin Phoenix is not a hard guy to talk to at all.

Over the years, the actor – Oscar-nominated for his vexing turn as the Emperor Commodus in Gladiator, his mesmerizing interpretation of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line and his animalistic Freddie Quell in The Master – has built a reputation as a mercurial public presence.

He’s been known to stalk angrily out of interviews and get really strange on TV. And of course there was that year and a half he spent trying to convince everyone he’d become a rapper.

But on the phone from his Los Angeles home, with his two dogs barking in the background (“pit mixes, they’re adopted,” he says, and I can hear him bracing for judgment before I tell him I have a rescue hound myself), Phoenix is relaxed and open to anything.

Maybe it helps that we’re talking about a project in which he believes very deeply: Paul Thomas Anderson’s dizzying adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s sort-of-mystery novel Inherent Vice. Phoenix plays Doc Sportello, an unlicensed P.I. in 1970 L.A. whose search for a missing real estate mogul leads him to uncover a Byzantine cabal involving sex, drugs, fame, power and dentistry.

“I don’t know how he does it, man,” Phoenix says of his director. “There’s nobody who can coax free all these different kind of humanly disparate tones and get them to work together, you know? It was such an amazing experience.”

Inherent Vice is messy and unapologetically weird, the absurdist comedy of Doc’s scenes with a gruff cop called Bigfoot (Josh Brolin) crashing into the woozy melancholy of his past relationship with old flame Shasta (Katherine Waterston). It shouldn’t come together, but in Anderson’s hands, it does.

“One of the things I love about it is that it’s not like when you’re watching the movie, you’re going, ‘Wow, this is really kind of hazy,'” Phoenix says. “You’re just kind of going through it, and when the movie’s over, you suddenly realize, ‘Wow, I was completely transported.’

“He doesn’t hit you over the head with period things. It’s not like the clichéd way of using cars and things of the period to kind of show you. It doesn’t really hit you over the head with the drugs, and yet it feels like such a druggy experience. It’s really masterful in that way.”

Read the full article here.

December 10, 2014
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Joaquin gave a new interview to promote the film “Inherent Vice” for ABC News. Joaquin also took the opportunity to comment that is not engaged. The actor revealed that it was just a joke on David Letterman show.

Check out the video below:

More ABC US news | ABC World News

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