Interview: Now Toronto


Clique para ver imagem em tamanho real

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.