In an interview with Esquire magazine, Joaquin Phoenix admits he suffers from crippling nerves on film sets that leave him “uncontrollably shaking” despite earning three Oscar nominations in 30 years in the business.
The star puts his success — which includes nominations for Walk The Line, The Master and Gladiator — down to luck and insisted: “I don’t know my craft.”
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Phoenix, 39, said: “Every f***ing movie I feel like it’s my first. I’m uncontrollably shaking, physically nervous. No way am I like, ‘Yeah, I got this’. Every time feels f***ing terrifying. They have to put f***ing pads in my armpits because I sweat so much.
“I like being an employee. My job is to please the director, that’s it. Because seriously, if you see cuts and dailies, it’s hard for any actor to take credit. Any performance in a movie is the complete work, and it’s the director that sews it all together.
“These guys I’ve been working with, Spike and Paul (directors Spike Jonze and Paul Thomas) I was thinking the other day: what happened? I don’t deserve to be here.” He added: “Here’s what I worry about. If you ever take your jacket off on set and just hold it out while you’re talking to the director because you expect a wardrobe person to grab it — that’s when it’s time to go home.
“When people are constantly adjusting your collar and lapel and you just give in to it? It’s over. You’re no longer a human being.”
The actor, who is soon to appear in sci-fi romance Her and drama Immigrant with Marion Cotillard, said working in the film industry had made him immature.
He told Esquire magazine: “My taste is like a sophisticated four-year-old. I wish I could say I watch European movies and shit, but I don’t. I watch Step Brothers (2008 Will Ferrell comedy) more than any other f***ing movie.
“When you see an adult actor on set, they look infantilised. People are there to dress you. They bring you espressos and lattes. It’s like arrested development. We’re all just little f***ing runt kids.”