Mark Ruffalo, Todd Haynes, Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix seen at the “Dark Waters” Tastemaker Screening hosted by Rooney Mara and RAD on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in West Hollywood, Calif. 

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Joaquin Phoenix hosts release party for his sister Rain celebrating her new album “RIVER” at Jim Henson Studios on October 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California.

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Via usatoday

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It’s no laughing matter: Like many people his age, Joaquin Phoenix has come to the conclusion that his comic book collection is no gold mine.

“I’m disappointed that my comics aren’t more valuable,” says Phoenix, 44, who still has some pretty choice issues, including Wolverine’s first appearance. “When you’re a kid, a hundred bucks is like a lot, right? I remember reading comics, being so excited: ‘Oh, man, it’s going to be worth 150 bucks!’ And then you’re an adult with a mortgage and you realize that all of your comics, it doesn’t amount to much.”

The superheroes of his childhood have become big business in Hollywood, though Phoenix is going in a very different direction with a fabled comic icon. Director Todd Phillips’ keenly anticipated psychological thriller “Joker” (in theaters Friday) imagines that a real-world scenario gives riseto the legendary Batman villain. That antagonist comes in the form of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a troubled Gotham City clown and stand-up comedian mocked and bullied for his unusual behavior and otherworldly cackle.

Phoenix is the latest in a long line of movie Jokers, joining the ranks of Jack Nicholson (1989’s “Batman”), Heath Ledger (2008’s “The Dark Knight”) and Jared Leto (2016’s “Suicide Squad”). But he does find the appeal of the anarchic antagonist – for actors and pop culture fans alike – “curious” overall.

“I wonder if it’s that they project their own feelings on the character because in some ways he’s a blank slate,” says Phoenix, breaking into a gigantic bottle of water while relaxing in an outdoor hotel bar area. “Most of these villains and heroes, their motivations are so clearly defined. Maybe there’s something enjoyable about a character in which we don’t really know what motivates him.”

Ledger posthumously won an Academy Award for his Joker, and Phoenix could make it two-for-two for the bad guy at the Oscars. A three-time nominee, he’s already considered overdue for golden glory, critical acclaim for his performance is boosting awareness, and he “most definitely will be in the mix,” says managing editor Erik Davis.

“(Oscar) voters love a juicy, no-holds-barred performance, he says. “And while Phoenix’s take is tough to watch and makes you uncomfortable at times, those are often the most powerful and lasting performances because they are the ones that stick with you long after leaving the theater.”

The road to becoming Joker, while admittedly “energizing,” wasn’t exactly a cakewalk, Phoenix says. Because there’s “limitless” potential for the character, he collaborated with Phillips constantly about everything from Arthur’s clownish look to his internal persona. As Joker evolved, so did Phoenix’s portrayal.

“When we were prepping for it, I felt very frustrated because I couldn’t lock on anything that felt like a foundation for the character,” Phoenix says. “And at some point, I realized that was the (expletive) point. He was unstable.

“It’s shaky ground as an actor. I enjoy not knowing precisely what a character may do, but you want to have like a couple moments that you feel solid about. And that never really happened,” he adds. “We just became very comfortable with not knowing.”

Read more at usatoday

Joaquin Phoenix attends the “Joker” premiere during the 57th New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on October 02, 2019 in New York City.

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Via Vanity Fair, by Joe Hagan | Photos by Ethan James Green.

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It was October 28, 1977, his third birthday, and Phoenix and his family were aboard a cargo ship bound for Miami from Venezuela. His parents had just abandoned their lives as followers of a notorious religious cult, the Children of God, which was led by a charismatic former preacher named David Berg, who called himself Moses. Phoenix’s parents, who spent much of the late 1960s wandering the West Coast in a VW microbus, had become missionaries, traveling around the southern U.S., Venezuela, and Puerto Rico, and giving birth to Rain, Joaquin, and Liberty along the way. To sing about God, Rain and first-born River went busking on the street. The organization made Phoenix’s parents “the archbishops” of Venezuela and Trinidad.

In those years, Children of God had not descended fully into the darkness and perversion for which it became infamous, including the use of sex for recruitment and allegedly introducing children to sex at a young age. The family was far from Berg’s orbit. When they realized what was happening, the Phoenixes, whose last name was then Bottom, left the cult, disillusioned, penniless, and expecting a fifth child, Summer.

The freighter was carrying a container with Tonka toys, and the crew gave Phoenix a truck and made him a birthday cake. “I vividly remember this cake, and I think it was probably the first cake that I ever had, like a proper cake,” Phoenix says. “I remember the toys. I had never gotten a new toy before, and really the most jarring and intense memory was what led to our veganism.”

He and his older siblings, River and Rain, were watching flying fish leap out of the water when Joaquin observed some fishermen pulling their catches off their rods and throwing them violently against nails that had been pounded into the wall of the vessel. At that moment, he says, it dawned on him that the fish his parents had been feeding him back in Venezuela, where they lived in a beach house and sang praise songs to God on the streets, were actually these helpless, flapping creatures being tortured to death on deck.

“It was so violent, it was just so intense,” he recalls. “I have a vivid memory of my mom’s face, which—I have seen that same face maybe one other time, where she was completely speechless because we yelled at her. ‘How come you didn’t tell us that’s what fish was?’ I remember tears streaming down her face.… She didn’t know what to say.”

Two months later, after moving to Winter Park, Florida, the entire family converted to veganism. In 1979 they piled into a station wagon—with a new last name, Phoenix—and drove to Hollywood, where they reinvented themselves as an unlikely troupe of child actors and singers who appeared in TV shows like Family Ties and Hill Street Blues, espoused veganism and animal rights, and featured a beautiful eldest son, the shooting star River Phoenix.


Joaquin Phoenix attends the Premiere of Warner Bros Pictures “Joker” on September 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Check out over 100 HQ photos in our gallery:

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Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips attend a special screening of “Joker” at Cineworld Leicester Square on September 25, 2019 in London, England.

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Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips attend the “Joker” Premiere at cinema UGC Normandie on September 23, 2019 in Paris, France.

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Via The Telegraph.
Photos by Rio Phoenix.

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From petulant Roman emperors to musicians battling  demons, he is an actor who immerses himself in roles while delighting in wrongfooting those he works with (including Telegraph journalists) – perfect preparation for his latest award-winning film, Joker .

Joaquin Phoenix is not laughing. The 44-year-old actor stretches his arms along the back of the sofa and fixes me with a look that could bore a hole in a tooth. He’s dressed entirely in black – faded jeans, plain hoodie – with around half a week’s salt-and-pepper stubble on his jaw, and silvering, near-shoulder-length hair pushed back behind his ears. On this pricklingly hot West Hollywood day, inside a nondescript business hotel, he looks like an Arctic wolf lost in a shopping centre. But despite the heat, the atmosphere in the room has taken on a tundra-like chill.

‘Why?’ he eventually mutters, his lip curling up at one side. ‘Why would you…? No… no.’ Then he stands up, shuffles towards me, clasps my hands between his, and walks out of the door.

We are talking – make that were talking – about Joker, in which Phoenix plays a reimagined and chillingly credible version of the venerable comic-book villain. In stark contrast to the ongoing cascade of shiny Marvel-brand escapism, Joker grabs you by the throat and demands to be taken seriously.

At its premiere at last month’s Venice Film Festival, the film received an eight-minute standing ovation, and Phoenix, who during his physical transformation to play the role lost a dramatic amount of weight, was immediately tipped for a Best Actor Oscar.

His Joker is a villain for our times: an unstable, self-pitying loner with a mass-shooter mindset. He writes an unhinged manifesto; fantasises about killing himself on live television, agitates for chaos on the streets.

Unlike Heath Ledger’s inscrutable take on the character in 2008’s The Dark Knight, Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian who still lives with his elderly mother, is the horribly familiar enemy within. If the film hadn’t been set in the ’80s he could easily be the latest online message-board extremist to take his grievances murderously viral.

 Yet Phoenix doesn’t seem to have considered this kind of question at all. So when I put it to him – aren’t you worried that this film might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results? – his fight-or-flight response kicks in. Mine too, just about. When you’ve watched and rewatched Phoenix play some of modern cinema’s most mesmerising powder kegs – from The Master’s wan and war-zonked Freddie Quell to You Were Never Really Here’s bearlike vigilante, Joe – I can assure you, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of that thin-eyed glare in real life.

It takes an hour’s peace-brokering with a Warner Bros PR to get things back on track. Phoenix panicked, he later explains, because the question genuinely hadn’t crossed his mind before – then asks me, not for the last time, what an intelligent answer might have sounded like. He’s being boyishly open now, as if the man who walked out of the room 60 minutes ago was another person entirely, like an embarrassed kid making amends for his short-tempered dad.

‘Did you bug out?’ he giggles. Why yes, Joaquin, I did.

Even with the tension punctured, this brooding three-time Oscar nominee and transparent publicity-phobe – he and his fiancée, the 34-year-old actor Rooney Mara, are hardly fixtures on the LA party circuit – is by no means an obvious choice to play the lead in a major comic-book film.

In 2014, Marvel tried to woo him for the lead role in Doctor Strange, though he eventually passed and the part went to Benedict Cumberbatch. The difference this time was the Joker character himself, whom Phoenix describes, with perhaps a twinge of self-awareness, as ‘posing questions with no easy answers’.

How familiar was he with the source material? ‘What do I say to make me sound smart and not offend the wrong people?’ he says, before admitting Ledger and Jack Nicholson’s performances were the only versions of the Joker to have crossed his radar. What grabbed him was the script. ‘Typically, the motivations of characters in most movies, certainly in the superhero genre, are very clear,’ he says, in a husky, fast-flowing drawl. ‘And that wasn’t the case in this, and to me, that was a challenge. There was something there to explore that I didn’t fully understand.’

Read more at The Telegraph.

Joaquin Phoenix attends the Mercy For Animals 20th Anniversary Gala at The Shrine Auditorium on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

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“Joker” premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 09, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

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Joaquin Phoenix was honored with the TIFF Tribute Actor Award during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival TIFF Tribute Gala.

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