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.”


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.


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.”



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.”

Interview: Now Toronto


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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.

Interview for ABC News

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

Joaquin was yesterday on David Letterman to promote his new film “Inherent Vice”. In the interview, Joaquin revealed that he is engaged to his yoga teacher, who had not the name revealed yet. Congratulations to the couple!

Check out the full interview:

By Stephen Rebello

On-screen or off, Joaquin Phoenix isn’t for the fainthearted. Known best for film roles that showcase his capacity for brooding intensity, idiosyncrasy, physicality, combustibility and raw vulnerability, Phoenix has impressed as a megalomaniac Roman emperor in Gladiator (earning an Oscar nomination), a country-music hellion in Walk the Line (another Oscar nomination), a traumatized World War II veteran in The Master (yet another nomination) and a heartbroken divorcé who falls in love with a Siri-like operating system in Her (an Oscar nomination that should have been). But after 30-plus years in the acting game, when he’s not busy filming with top directors such as Ridley Scott, Paul Thomas Anderson or Spike Jonze, Phoenix’s public image has been known to get murky. Or downright mind-boggling. Or ominous. Or darkly funny.

In 2005 he entered rehab for alcoholism; less than a year later he crashed and rolled his car and, as it filled with leaking gasoline, was saved by director Werner Herzog, who miraculously happened to be passing by. In 2008 Phoenix told the world he was bowing out of acting to become a hip-hop artist. His weight ballooned; he sprouted a bushy beard, donned sunglasses, dreadlocked his hair and played a couple of train-wreck gigs. Actor Casey Affleck, Phoenix’s friend and brother-in-law (married since 2006 to Phoenix’s sister Summer), filmed it all—including Phoenix’s romps with hookers and cocaine—for a 2010 movie, I’m Still Here, advertised as a documentary. Then, in front of 4 million TV viewers (and hundreds of thousands more on YouTube), Phoenix appeared to strike the final match in his career self-immolation with an infamous guest appearance on Late Show With David Letterman during which he seemed spacey and incoherent. It turned out to be a hoax, of course, an elaborately staged, drawn-out Andy Kaufman meets Sacha Baron Cohen–esque performance piece.

But something few people get about Joaquin Phoenix is that off screen, he’s not a moody, egocentric, arrogant, volatile twit. He’s a sardonic jester, a leg-puller engineered for fame but smart enough to see right through it. His parents, Arlyn and John Bottom, raised him that way. Searching, nomadic hippies, the two met as hitchhikers in 1968; by 1974, when Joaquin was born in Puerto Rico, they (with River and Rain, Joaquin’s older brother and sister) had gravitated to the Children of God sect, a lightning rod for controversy. Watching TV and fraternizing with nonbelievers was discouraged. When Phoenix’s parents fled Children of God in 1977, they boarded a Miami-bound ship, then relocated to Los Angeles. To celebrate what they saw as a risen-from-the-ashes rebirth, they changed their last name to Phoenix.

Arlyn Phoenix got a job as secretary to NBC’s head of casting. The Phoenix kids went to work. Billed as “Leaf Phoenix” throughout the 1980s, Joaquin scored roles on Murder, She Wrote and Hill Street Blues, leading to attention-getting big-screen stints in Russkies and Parenthood. By 1989, tired of what he called “banana in the tailpipe” roles, he stopped making movies, until something much better came along six years later in the form of To Die For, a smart, wicked, Gus Van Sant–directed bit of comic nastiness. Phoenix, hoping to show off his range in a wider variety of material, including big comedies, kept the dark stuff coming with such downers as 8MM (as a character who sells porn films) and Return to Paradise (as a flower child awaiting execution for drug possession). But those flicks led to Gladiator, a box-office hit and awards grabber. Accolades, fame and stardom have brought things Phoenix tolerates but probably hates, such as scrutiny and intense public curiosity—and interviews.

We sent PLAYBOY Contributing Editor Stephen Rebello, who last interviewed David Fincher, to track down Phoenix at a Middle Eastern restaurant in L.A.’s explosively hip East Side. Rebello reports: “I first met Phoenix in 2007 when I interviewed him for a PLAYBOY 20Q, during which he smoked and fidgeted a lot but was charming, kind and archly funny. That same guy turned up seven years later for this interview, minus the cigarettes. Arrogant? Combative? Uncommunicative? Please. He might rather have been doing something else—maybe anything else—but Joaquin was frank, talkative and endearingly off center.”

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Paul Thomas Anderson and cast of “Inherent Vice” at a press conference during the 52nd New York Film Festival.

Joaquin Phoenix is often the go-to actor for haunted emotion, but he’s softened up to play a lonely writer in Her. By Cath Clarke.

Joaquin Phoenix is telling me he’s sick of the impression people have of him which depicts him as awkward or difficult. To which the obvious answer is, stop playing all those awkward, difficult characters! Actually don’t. There’s no-one better at it.

To be fair, Phoenix does reveal his gentler side in his new film, Her. He’s quietly dazzling as Theodore Twombly, a sensitive writer living in Los Angeles around 2025 who falls in love with his computer operating system (think Siri, circa the release of the iPhone 87). Theodore is a big softy: “Everything makes you cry,” his ex-wife tells him snarkily. As messed up as the next guy, he is possibly one of the least troubled characters the 39-year-old actor has given us – a lifetime of pain away from Freddie in The Master, the anger and schemes of Commodus in Gladiator, or the beardy, shambolic quasi-Phoenix of the hoax documentary, I’m Still Here.

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Five years ago, bearded Joaquin Phoenix appeared on the David Letterman program, saying he would leave the movie career to become a rapper – and thus made ​​everyone believe that he had gone mad. In 2010, Phoenix revealed that it was all part of a character created for the staged documentary I’m Still Here, and many thought he was finished – who dares to make a joke with these Hollywood? But after that, the 39 year old actor was nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Master and is now being praised by Her (which premieres this Friday, 7 in Brazil). The actor plays the solitary and sensitive Theodore, who falls for Samantha (voice of Scarlett Johansson) self-styled operating system. MMA fan, Phoenix exalts the feminine side of the character, and says that, like Theodore, can well live alone.

Samantha uses much music to show how you’re feeling . Do you?
At work , I have done a few times. Occasionally the director plays some music to create an atmosphere , because music is a powerful emotional tool that transcends even language.

Are you a music fan ?
Yes, but I go through some stages . When I was younger , I bought a disc , and I was sat there listening – devoured , actually. And I do not do this for a long time .

That rapper character I’m Still Here reflected some secret desire to be a rapper ?
I do not have this desire , because I know that is not something I could do . I chose to be a rapper in the movie because he had some knowledge , then during an interview I could talk about producers and DJs It had nothing to do with a desire to be a rapper . Maybe I wanted to 13 years old.

Do you think you is a better actor after this experience ?
I do not know if I’m better … but surely a lot has changed for me . The process was antithetical of most films. Today I see as a tremendous luxury to have multiple takes to achieve the desired result . In I’m Still Here , sometimes we did things in public and it was only a chance to hit. But it was very nice to stay focused , keep me in character under any circumstances .

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