Joaquin is the only child in the Phoenix family who does not have a name connected to nature (as are his older children River and Rain, as well as his youngest child Summer). Frustrated, the actor took the first name “Leaf” (leaf) to give up in the ’90s. His childhood was nomadic, as his parents, wandering fruit-pickers, traveled on the North American continent in caravan and frequented the sect of the Sons of a God. With the encouragement of his family, the actor started his acting career very early. Barely 8 years old, Joaquin appeared on the TV series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers alongside his brother River and Richard Dean Anderson, and then two years later, on an episode of Arabesque. However, he had to wait until 1987 to film his first feature film, Spacecamp.
Son of Diane West in Ron Howard’s Spitting Image of a Model Family (1989), he came to prominence by playing the deeply impressionable Jamie, a devious lover of Nicole Kidman in Ready for Anything (1995) by Gus Van Sant. A lover of fringe and disturbing characters, he was assigned the roles of violent fiancé Claire Dance in U-Turn (1997) by Oliver Stone, director sex shop In the Thriller 8mm (1999) and a notorious friend in The Yards (2000) which was his first collaboration with James Gray.
That same year, Phoenix lashes out at the hated Emperor Commodus who is pursued by Russell Crowe with his desire for revenge on the gladiator Ridley Scott. This film allows him to introduce himself to the general public and offers him recognition for the profession with his first Academy Award nomination. This gallery of characters, to say the least, doesn’t stop him from interpreting the real “heroes”: the reclusive and brave brother of Mel Gibson struggling with aliens from Signs (2002) by M. Night Shyamalan, an adventure in the woods surrounding Le Village (2004) once again The director is of Indian origin. This entire inner performance once again reveals the aspects of Phoenix’s acting, which are always involved in his characters to the point of immersion in them. He also made a couple with Claire Dance, five years after U-Turn, in Dane Thomas Vinterberg’s It’s All About Love.
In 2005, Joaquin made a brief appearance at Hotel Rwanda alongside Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte. But it’s his interpretation of Johnny Cash in Walk the line, along with Reese Witherspoon, that sets the spirits up the following year. To embody the legendary man in black, the actor learns to play the guitar and interprets the songs of the film himself. His performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and won a Golden Globe in the same category. Then Joaquin Phoenix finds director James Gray, 8 years after The Yards, for The Night is Ours as he plays a nightclub boss at the center of the conflict between the New York Police and the Russian Mafia in the 1980s. The duo continued in 2008 with Two Lovers, a drama set in Facing the love triangle. Phoenix plays Leonard, a reserved and lonely young man between two women, Vinessa Shaw and enthusiastic Gwyneth Paltrow.
The following year, the actor caused quite a stir by announcing his retirement from the world of cinema to devote himself to music. In fact, there’s been buzz around Casey Affleck’s fanciful photo shoot, I’m Still Here. For a year, Ben Affleck’s brother had been tracking a fake phoenix that was supposedly suffering from depression; Between statements of hatred towards the world of show business, provocations and fights, the actor completely dissolves into this fake himself until he grows up and grows a beard. The joke works so well that the actor really begins to draw the ire of the audience and the profession. Then Casey Affleck publicly reveals the deception so as not to harm his project.
So Joaquin Phoenix has yet to retire and turns in 2012 under the acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master. Phoenix plays Freddy, an alcoholic and depressed veteran who falls under the yoke of a cult teacher played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. His performance earned him his third Academy Award nomination. He reunited with the director two years later in Inherent Vice, a police investigation steeped in the psychedelic atmosphere of the 1960s adapted from a novel by Thomas Pynchon.
In the meantime, he is filming again under the direction of his favorite director, James Gray, for The Immigrant, selected in an official competition in Cannes. A pimp takes advantage of the plight of a Polish woman (Marion Cotillard) who has just arrived in New York before falling in love with her. He also rubs his shoulders with sci-fi in Spike Jonze’s Her where he falls madly in love with an AI voice called Scarlett Johansson. In 2015, he added a new prestigious collaboration to his filmography thanks to Woody Allen. In The Irrational Man, a tortured and nihilistic philosophy professor relives a taste of life when he decides to turn to crime.
Missed screens for two years, he made a strong comeback in 2017 with A Beautiful Day, Lynne Ramsay’s thriller full of violence and aesthetic excitement. His manned interpretation of a veteran turned assassin skilled with a hammer won him the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Marie Madeleine follows, no less drama in which Jesus of Nazareth confronts his fellow city-mate Rooney Mara. He found her again in his next movie, don’t worry, he won’t walk Gus Van Santa biography dedicated to quartet cartoonist and alcoholic John Callahan.
In 2018, the actor starred in front of Jacques Audiard’s Western Sisters Les Frères camera before slipping under Joker’s makeup. Phoenix exploded onto screen as the iconic DC Comics villain: BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards for Best Actor all praised his performance. Todd Phillips’ film was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and has impressed audiences with over $1 billion in revenue worldwide.